Untemplate And Go Against The Grain

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Recently I got back in touch with some of my old friends from high school. Admittedly it had been a while since we had any correspondence and it was nice to catch up. One of my friends was a brand new first time mom to a healthy baby boy, and another had two daughters with curly, blonde pigtails that recently turned 2 and 4.

They each told me happy stories about being mothers and how their lives revolved around their precious kids. I was happy for my friends as they clearly were at a joyful stage in their lives, and talking about their kids made them beam with pride and joy.

Strange, Peculiar, and Just Plain Weird

It was a strange experience catching up with them though. Even as I smiled and laughed with them, I couldn’t help feeling more and more peculiar in my heart as the visit went on. It wasn’t that they were bad hosts, or the fact that we weren’t any good at keeping in touch over the years.  It wasn’t even jealousy I was feeling either, it was just plain weird.

After I left, I couldn’t shake the funny feelings I had inside.  When I got home I sat down on the couch by myself and started to pick apart my thoughts.  What I realized was that I felt strange in my heart because the person I was when I knew these friends in high school was a completely different person than who I am now.  It almost felt like I’d lost a piece of myself, but in a good way.  On top of this, it was a bit heavy to process how our lives were headed in completely different directions. Neither theirs nor mine was better or worse than the other, we were just diverging paths in a big way and had so little left in common.

Branch Out And Change Your Circles

When you decide you want to live an untemplate lifestyle and go against the grain, a lot of things change. Time takes on a new meaning once you no longer dread Monday’s and every day of the week feels like Friday’s after 5. It may be hard to imagine time that way now, but trust me it is possible! Your time will also become more valuable as you maximize all of your free time to the fullest whether it’s to work on a side business, network with mentors, brainstorm ideas, get serious about personal finance, backpack around the world, or become a health guru.

You’ll probably find that you have less and less in common with your old friends like I did and that’s perfectly ok!  It will feel strange at times when you think about how different your life is now than it used to be, but then you’ll smile from ear to ear when you realize how much happier you are now.  Instead of lamenting about friends you’ve lost, change circles and connect with other untemplaters who like you want more out of life than just punching a time card and watching four hours of TV each day.  I overcame my TV addiction last year and only regret not doing it sooner!

Untemplate And Go Against The Grain

Have you ever noticed that if you’re sitting next to someone and they turn to look at something, you find yourself turning to see what they’re looking at?  It happens all the time!  It can be hard to stay focused on our entrepreneurial goals and living an untemplate lifestyle when there are people all around us tempting us to look away and pull us back into the herd. But going against the grain and blocking out these distractions is what makes an untemplate lifestyle so great!

Stick with what you believe in, and don’t worry about what others are doing or are trying to convince you to do. Sure I still wonder when is the best time to have kids, but I’m so much happier following my passions to blog and travel right now even though all my friends are busy raising kids and relentlessly asking me when I’m going to join them as a mom.

Life is too short to do what everybody else is doing and to live your life just to please someone else. Stay confident in your convictions and beliefs, untemplate your mind, set your own agendas and priorities, and make the most of your life while you go against the grain.

Two roads diverged in a wood, and I–
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference.  – Robert Frost

Untemplaters, how different are you as a person today than 5, 10, 15 years ago?  Have you ever had an epiphany when you decided to untemplate and go against the grain?  How do you stay focused when everyone around you is trying to pull you into the herd?

“Personal

Unconventional Guides

{ 18 comments… read them below or add one }

MoneyCone February 23, 2012 at 6:50 am

I like your contrarian (and positive) interpretation of Robert Frost’s poem! Inspiring post Sydney!

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Sydney February 23, 2012 at 7:40 am

Thanks MoneyCone! I’ve always loved that poem, especially those lines.

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Hunter - Financially Consumed February 23, 2012 at 7:51 am

I love this message Sydney. Be your own person. Thanks for another awesome dose of inspiration.

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Sydney February 23, 2012 at 12:36 pm

Thanks Hunter! Sometimes it takes a while to figure out who we really are and what makes us tick but once we do we come alive!

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bax February 23, 2012 at 12:04 pm

Myself five years ago wouldn’t recognize what I’ve become.

Would be fun having a a few drinks together though.

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Sydney February 23, 2012 at 12:41 pm

That’s excellent Bax! Haha it would be funny to have a drink with our old selves. I’ve learned so much about life and myself over the years. I thought I knew so much when I was in high school but oh how clueless I really was.

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John | Married (with Debt) February 23, 2012 at 5:30 pm

The title gave me a chuckle because I’m trying something new for February – giving up grain.

I got married and had kids young. Somehow many peers seem to be waiting longer. So when I’m in my forties my kids will be in college. I’ll hopefully be able to retire early. I see so many parents at our daughters’ school who are approaching 50 with 5 year old kids.

Maybe I’ll be un-templated at 45, calling my buddies to hang out and they’ll all say “Man, I can’t. The baby didn’t let me sleep last night.”

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Sydney February 23, 2012 at 5:46 pm

Wow giving up grain for a month, that sounds hard! Sounds like you’ll be quite the hip dad to have college kids when you’re in your 40s! I don’t think I’d have the energy near 50 to have a 5 yo running around. So that’s why my DH and I will decide on kids or no kids in the next few years.

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101 Centavos February 24, 2012 at 10:02 am

Interesting… the picture of the bike trail on the Bay Area hillsides (I’m assuming it’s the SF Bay Area, it’s what it looks like) could either be interpreted as total ambling freedom, or a rut to be followed. I’ll go with freedom.

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Sydney February 26, 2012 at 11:20 pm

Definitely freedom! I was trying to find a pic in my library that would fit with the title and couldn’t find quite what I wanted so just went with that one. It is in fact from a Bay Area trail up in Marin. :)

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Big Fish February 24, 2012 at 4:08 pm

Only once one has tasted of the sweet nectar of success and experienced real freedom can they truly understand the “sacrifices” required to live this way are nothing in comparison. Our friends are always blown away when we describe our adventures (lots of travelling) and experiences, (everything from “Fire walking” to skydiving) yet always follow up by saying “I could never do those things”, which then becomes a self fulfilling prophecy for them; I guess somehow the hypnotic lure of car payments, reality TV and cel phones are just too much for them to give up! For us, the choice is a no-brainer.

We all know Thoreau wrote “The mass of men lead lives of quiet desperation”, right? Don’t you find it interesting that he wrote this in 1854, and yet for most men and women it still rings true some 158 later? I sure do, but certainly not for us “untemplater” types!

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Sydney February 26, 2012 at 11:23 pm

Ooh fire walking sounds exciting. I’ve done indoor skydiving which I doubt isn’t anywhere near as thrilling as the real thing but it was still awesome! Sounds like you know how to have a lot of untemplate fun!

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Melissa@PersonalFinanceJourney February 24, 2012 at 6:37 pm

I had my kids in my thirties, while most of my friends had them in their 20s. There are definite benefits to both ways, but the bottom line is that as friends we grew apart.

I love your line about having every day feel like Friday. Since I quit my job and started working for myself, you are right, I don’t dread Monday.

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Sydney February 26, 2012 at 11:27 pm

I can see how that difference would lead to you guys growing apart. The same thing is happening to my close friends whose kids are now in school. They’re still great women, but most of their free time is spent with other moms in their area.

That’s fantastic you’re working for yourself now and know the feeling of actually looking forward to Monday’s! :)

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Shilpan February 24, 2012 at 10:15 pm

“Stick with what you believe in, and don’t worry about what others are doing or are trying to convince you to do.” — this is profound. Nice article. We are in business of pleasing our inner self and not others.

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Sydney February 26, 2012 at 11:34 pm

Thanks Shilpan! It’s impossible to please everyone and there will always be people out there who want to try and bring us down or tell us we’re doing things wrong. We just have to look past them and do what we believe is right.

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Financial Samurai February 25, 2012 at 9:13 pm

I’m always amazed by your energy whenever you travel. It’s like you turn into the hulk! haha.

I like going with the grain most of the time, and the against the grain some of the time. I don’t want to go against the grain, just for the sake of it.

Funny how our childhood friends all go on different paths!

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Sydney February 26, 2012 at 11:37 pm

I love traveling to new places! I try to photograph and soak in everything around me and see as many things as possible. Yeah it is funny how we end up in so many different places and careers than what we imagined and wanted when we were young.

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