Often when one does anything contrary to society’s norms and what everyone else is doing, we are told we are crazy. When I told my family and friends that my husband and I planned to live without ever taking on more debt or financing a thing, we were met with incredulity. “That’s simply not possible. You can’t live a life without debt!” they said. Yet here we are five years later having gotten married without financing my ring, the wedding, or any of our vacations or indeed our lifestyle in general. People tell me I’m crazy to think I can retire in 15 years as well, but I know better by now than to believe what other people tell me is possible or not. I know what I am capable of, and I have a plan on which I have no doubts that I will follow through.
On the topic of feeling crazy, Anne Wilson Schaef writes:
“Several years ago, after I had written and published Women’s Reality, I visited an old friend in new York City. After talking a while, she said, ‘You’ve changed.’ (She’s an analyst and she always notices things!) ‘Really,’ I said, ‘how?’ (I secretly hoped that I had changed. After all, we had not seen each other for several years, and if I hadn’t changed, I was in deep trouble!) ‘You are no longer afraid of being crazy,’ she observed. ‘Was I afraid of being crazy?’ I asked, somewhat startled. ‘Yes,’ she said quietly. ‘Well, after writing Women’s Reality, I realize that I have constantly been told that I am crazy by my society when I put forth my clearest, sanest, most precious perceptions. Now I accept that I am ‘crazy’ in the eyes of an addictive society, and I feel very sane with my ‘craziness.’”
Observing the people around me at work, I often feel pressured to match their “level of dedication and commitment to the job,” which is to say their workaholism. Many of my colleagues work late nights, weekends, during their holidays and PTO. They gladly take on more assignments well past the point of what can reasonably be accomplished, and I can’t recall ever having witnessed someone say no to their superiors before. Meanwhile, I refuse to answer or even look at emails outside of my working hours. I don’t make a habit of working late nights, and certainly never past the point at which I can reasonably be home in time for dinner. I will never work a weekend in my life if I can help it, and certainly never a holiday or, God forbid, during my precious vacation time. Hard boundaries between work and pleasure are necessary, I’ve learned, to rejuvenate oneself and ensure you are able to remain a productive, happy, and healthy human being.
I can’t help but think though, “Am I insane? Will I get fired?” It has been a source of constant worry for me lately. Not that I’m insane—I believe I am one of the only sane ones!—but rather that I will be fired for not giving enough of myself to my job. Why is it we’re made to feel that doing our best for 40 hours a week is not enough? Returning to the aforementioned topic of debt, why is it we’re made to believe we have to remain indebted to companies to own nice things? Indeed, society is the truly crazy one in all of this. It is those who are viewed as insane who are often the most rational among us if we really stop to think about it. If sanity is working myself to death while staying indebted to others, I will happily live my life of insanity!