I am a member of the Yiffie generation (young, individualistic, freedom-minded, and few, as coined in the late 80s and early 90s), which blends with the youngest baby boomers on one side, and Generation X on the other. Though we are few, we have proven mighty. We brought you business casual, telecommuting, and non-conformity with purpose.
In honor of my generation, I have worked over the years to embrace my own non-conformity. While my parents sought stability and my children seek experience, I exemplified starting over. I have several non-conformist traits, although with time, they are becoming more mainstream.
I “shed my skin” every three to five years. I have moved, improved my job, and reinvented life not once, but six times in four decades. I have been blessed with an ability to “start over,” often by choice, and embrace this non-conformist trait.
I am organized, but not the way my mother is. My memory creates a “map” of locations. If you want a light bulb, I will go to the kitchen and stand a second, then unerringly walk right to them, even though they haven’t been kept in the kitchen for two years. While at my desk, I can lay my hands on nearly anything I need or must find. However, it is utterly useless for my husband to call me when I am away from home, asking where something is. I cannot articulate it, nor can I even picture it until I’m standing at the map reference. Non-conformist and the bane of professional organizers everywhere, it is part of who I am. Please don’t move an object…it will be lost to me until I finally discover it and create a new map.
I write “weird.” The way I create books or articles is often far outside accepted teaching in terms of outlines (don’t use them) and assembly (what’s a story arc?). I’m okay with that. I get the job done and my Muse continues to visit her little non-conformist on a regular basis.
Of course, there are elements of my non-conformity that really bother me. My generation is highly educated. I am not. I want to be. If there comes a day I can cease working 55 hours a week at one job and the rest of my time at my business (which I have no desire to cease), I plan to squeeze in classes until the degree is finished. That’s what happens when you get divorced halfway through college. I accept it, but I still hope to change it.
I am proud of my generation. Our parents raised us to think and to pursue careers that were fulfilling, regardless of monetary reward. In turn, we gave our children experiences, freedom, and taught them to be individuals, though the jury is still out on how this will affect them down the road. We bridge the way life was and the way life will be, often with one foot on either side of the fence.
I am also content with my non-conformity, my drive to know myself and continue to grow, and the odd quirks that make me who I am.
How do you embrace your unique individuality?