Ahh society. We love to hate it, we hate to love it….but at the end of the day, we are it. The taboos, the trends, the social conventions - all the little things that probably confuse the hell out of aliens.
So if the creatures have long hair, they are responsible for watching the tiny creatures?
No, aliens. That’s just the patriarchy. Anyhow, society champions very specific standards that don’t leave much room for self-discovery, mental health, and all that other junk. We are expected to wake up at sunrise, work 8 (aka 12) hours per day, tend to our families, and merrily drift off into the sunset. And while the American dream sounds nice and all…it also resembles a dystopian novel.
That’s because there’s no room for deviation, questioning, uncertainty, exploration…basically all the things that make us human. And not aliens. (Sorry up there!) To transform how our society functions, we need to start normalizing alternative ways of being. But where oh where shall we begin? How about this convenient list of 6 things that need to become socially acceptable ASAP!1. Group Therapy: Yes, you need it!
We’ve kinda started to normalize individual therapy (emphasis on “kinda”), but we’re really lagging behind on the importance of group therapy. Support groups can be absolutely life changing, allowing you to connect with people who share similar backgrounds, struggles, and identities. It’s so easy to get lost in this great big world, and group therapy is a phenomenal tool to ground yourself in humanity, and to make yourself feel *slightly* less insane.2. Gap years: You are allowed to breathe.
Committing to 400k in debt at 17-years-old? Sounds like an AWESOME game plan. Our society has tricked us into believing you have to know your destiny after high school graduation, and that’s just plain wrong. And scientifically wrong. Cause your brain isn’t even fully developed until 25! And even after 25, your goals may constantly shift as you continue to mature. Whether you’re taking a break post-high school, post-college, or post-nap, you are allowed to press pause and explore your interests!3. Completing your education as an adult: Your life isn’t frozen after 25.
Newsflash: 30 isn’t old. Nor is 40. Or 50. These days, 80 is the new 21. That’s because growth and knowledge have no time limit! You aren’t behind. You aren’t slow. You are simply on your own path, and pursuing an education at a better time for you.4. Not labeling your sexuality/gender: You don’t need to be defined!
Disclaimer: If you love labels, more power to you. I respect labels, I admire labels, I am all here for labels. However, if you’ve never felt like you “fit” into a socially constructed category, that is also completely valid! You don’t have to be anything. You are alive, you are breathing, and that is enough. I am proud of you for being here and showing up today. Look at you, reading this empowering article! You are an absolute rockstar.5. Mental Health days off from work: Labor ≠ Life
I promise, the world will not end if you take the day off work for your mental health. The sky will still be blue, the grass will still be green - unless climate change destroys us first, but that’s a topic for another article. You do not have to sacrifice your mental health to achieve a perfect attendance award. Cause there is no shiny reward, and nobody is really keeping score but you. And possibly management. But hopefully they’re busy right now.6. Saying “no” to plans…without an excuse: “Not feeling like it” is valid.
Since when did lying become the social norm? No, my grandma isn’t sick. My dog isn’t at the vet. My mom doesn’t need help with errands. I simply don’t want to go. I’m tired. I’m lazy. And I love doing nothing. Can we all collectively agree to scratch the social niceties, and just be real? It would make all of our lives a whole lot simpler.
These 6 ideas merely scratch the surface of social conventions that need a transformation. It would be so easy to enact change if “society” was a person, and we could kindly request that she dispose of these annoying little habits. Obviously, that is not the case, because we are all society. And it’s up to each individual to normalize new behaviors and destabilize the status quo. So go! Be free! Go shake social standards to their very core! And don’t be afraid to send updates while you’re out there changing the world.
Written by: Brianna RauchmanInstagram: @briannarauchman