Those of you who read here often probably know by now that I don’t tend to allow tradition—or the expectations of others—to dictate how I live my life. I feel very strongly that our lives are ours to control and no two people have to make the same choices. The thing is, we only have this one life to live, so I don’t see the point in making big decisions I’m not excited about.
So I thought today I could share with you a few (more) of the ways I’ve taken the road less traveled in my life.
I asked my husband to marry me. In a text message. Yes, for real. I know it seems weird and unnatural, and obviously the whole thing defied convention, but I wouldn’t trade our engagement story for the whole entire world. I was at work and a very good friend and I were talking about our boyfriends. Hers was about to be deployed in the military and they were going to get married before he left. She was so happy and in love and my then-boyfriend (now-husband) and I had frequently talked about marriage and I just knew we were going to end up together, so I decided there wasn’t any reason not to start forever now. I texted him and asked, “Do you want to get married February 24th?” He sent back a simple “Yes.” That was it. We got married on February 24, 2006.
Speaking of that day, our wedding was an elopement in the purest sense of the word. We had two witnesses, and they were the only two souls on Earth who knew we were getting married that day. We got married at the courthouse. I was a 20-year-old recent college graduate and he had just a month prior turned 23. We were babies and it was completely spontaneous and crazy, and so completely us. People honestly weren’t even that surprised when we finally got around to telling them *cough, 6 months later, cough.*
We did something else on that day that was a little different. You see, we were totally broke at the time. We couldn’t afford wedding rings. But what we could afford were $40 ring tattoos. So on our wedding day we sat in a tattoo parlor inking ourselves up. It was my husband’s first tattoo. Certainly nontraditional, but it was so special and meaningful. We did, eventually, get rings, and my husband surprised me with a beautiful “engagement” ring and re-proposed (in a gazebo, in the rain), but the tattoos are still what mean the most.
While this next one doesn’t have anything to do with our wedding, it definitely impacts our marriage. My husband and I just don’t know if we want children. Most days we really lean towards no. Never in my life have a felt a deep calling to be a mother. When I was younger and would tell people this I always got the same reaction: “Oh, just wait, someday you’ll change your mind.” And while it’s true that some days I will hold a baby and think OMG I NEED A BABY NOW, the reality is I can envision a complete and whole life where I am never a mom. I don’t feel like my life is devoid of purpose or meaning or any of the other things I hear people say who know from the start that they want kids. At times I’ve felt this lack of a calling sort of made me “less than,” but as I’ve grown I’ve come to see that it’s not more or less, just different. So this one is a total unknown, and I honestly think it could go either way, but having a baby would be a conscious choice on our behalf, not something that is a given in our life.
These are just the major things, I’m sure on a daily basis I do any number of things that would garner a sideways glance from a strict traditionalist. And on the other hand I’m sure I follow convention a million times a day, differentiating me from the life of a true non-conformist. To me, it’s not about what choice you make, just that you know that you have the ability to make any number of decisions in your life. So go out and live the life that feels good to you, be it traditional or off the wall inimitable. It’s your life and you really can have it any way you want.
Do you lean towards the traditional or are you off in your own world? I’m dying to know who follows conventions and who breaks the rules and why.
Brandi is a lawyer in Denver who spends very little time actually lawyering. She can usually be found working for free at a non-profit, hiking up mountains, or bossing her husband around because he made the mistake of asking her for help with his business one time. She’s horribly technologically inept (unless people still use AIM in which case she’s a genius) and takes one bite out of every donut instead of finishing a single donut in its entirety, which is probably a metaphor for something but she hasn’t figured out what it is yet. You can read more from Brandi on her blog, Randi Nickle.