prompt, The life

365 days of questions: follower

365 Questions, One Page Per Day: A One Year Self-Discovery Journal 

DAY 12:

In what area(s) of your life are you more or less following the crowd, instead of listening to your own intuition?

In most things I am not a follower or a leader. I just do my own thing and it connects with people … or it doesn’t.

But I am human and like all humans I end up being shoved down the same path we all are whether I liked it or not. And I am cynical about it because I am very aware of it. This whole life-stage bullcrap. Get a career, get a long-term relationship, get a house… blah, blah. And if you don’t walk the line people will get right on you about it. When are you going to… ‘get married… have kids… whatever it is you are ‘supposed’ to do. It is actually talking about in some circles for business as in customer targeted ‘life-stages’- as in what people ‘typically’ do in specific targeted life-stages. So that you know how to deal with that customer based on their life-stage profile. Like just started a family, or just looking to buy a house, or settled into a solid income and established, or looking to retire… basic profiles of what is ‘normal’.

But none of that is necessary. No life-stage is set. No path is ‘normal’. None of it has to be a certain way. But in some things, certainly, I flowed along the ‘normal’ scheme of things.


The funny thing about relationships is that we actually think we have a lot of choice in our long-term partner. But really it is mostly a progression bias and it is heavily influenced by those around you.

Psychology today mentions the key points of it quite clearly:

  • We have a natural tendency, the progression bias, to keep moving forward with a relationship and ignore warning signs of trouble.
  • This progression bias is driven by evolutionary, cognitive, emotional, and social forces.
  • Even when we do have doubts about moving on with a relationship, our social networks will encourage us to push forward anyway.

“most people simply move through the various stages of relationship building without any serious consideration of whether their partner is right for them in the long run.” (Psychology Today). Then we invest time into the relationship… making it harder to leave (which basically is Sunk Cost Fallacy). I mean, we put so much time, effort, and emotional effort into it that there is a point where we feel like we have to keep going.

couples rarely give much deliberative thought to their decision to move in together. Instead, as the relationship develops, they spend more time at each other’s place, until it simply makes sense to share one space instead. Although people think of cohabitation as a kind of trial marriage, it can be very difficult to leave after moving in together. Instead, most couples get married after an appropriate amount of time has passed, often under social pressure from friends and family. “So, when are you two going to tie the knot?”

Psychology Today

So I am just as much of a follower as everyone else when it comes to this. Progressing in a pretty much predictable fashion. Aside from the fact I refuse to get married. Not saying that is a bad thing. Just saying that seems to be the process culturally, emotionally and socially.

But it all isn’t necessary. Typical, yes. But not necessary. There are all sorts of relationship types and styles. And not all of them follow this format. But most of us pretty much follow this format and we don’t really think about it. Well, not until later in life.

Buy a house

Buying a house is a thing we have been told by society is a thing you do. It is a long-term asset. It is settling in to a committed relationship.

But it isn’t really an asset. Unless you have a crapton of money or make a lot of money and can pay it off fast or outright. The bank has a loan on it for a Minimum of 25 years. Some people that is 30 years. And that is assuming we don’t utilize our equity for a line of credit or refinance in that time-frame. It is a debt more than an asset as far as I can tell.

And it takes a crapton of your disposable income to pay for that mortgage and then all the expenses associated with it.

But it is totally the adult thing To Do. When I was younger it seemed a Natural Progression of someone in my lifestage. Now, knowing what I do, I wouldn’t do it. I would rent and invest money in more important places. I just don’t see the need.


When I was a kid I was very cynical about the life path of what I saw before me. And I was right to be. It is expected that you will find a job that will turn into a Career. And that you will then progress in that Career. And most of us will not have job satisfaction but… bills to pay and so on and so forth.

My career was a fine one. Not well suited for my personality but I got into it fine. It was horrific for my health. And the environment itself was seriously toxic. And my health Tanked. But… bills to pay. So… I stayed. And it is a career so I held on for way past any logical sense.

Even though I was keenly aware from a young age the destructiveness of working a job where we have no job satisfaction, no passion… I still did it. We are all adults. We all have obligations. That mortgage- for example. No one likes the idea of financial instability and we get stuck because of that, fearful of change that may have too high a price when it comes to that stability.

I don’t think that way anymore. Hell, I am used to financial instability and living with a far lower income due to disability. And the world didn’t end. It does make life harder but not impossible.

If I am ever able to work again it will be something I actually enjoy. And the job environment will have to be a healthy one. I have no time for toxic work environments. I understand work/life balance now, of course, being that I am disabled and having gotten so much worse health-wise while working. I think many of us pay a hefty price for our jobs. Companies don’t own us. They think we need them but we really don’t. No job is worth our lives. There is always another job even if they make it seem like they are Necessary. No company is necessary. We are necessary to them. Fact is, many of us will have as many as five careers in our lifetime. So if we feel stuck in some crappy company they have to understand we are not actually stuck at all- and people will jump ship when and if they can.

I think the pandemic really pushed that lesson home for many of us. A lot of people lost their jobs. Some who had those jobs for a significant amount of time. And you have to realize that company really doesn’t care about you. And all that time and effort you put in. And when you spent all that time looking for work- well many of you switched fields of work entirely, some retrained, or went back to school. Because we learned we mean nothing to a company but job satisfaction, job environment, life/work balance are actually important things.

Anyway, all those things are pretty typical things people do. But none of them are necessary paths. It is just that well traveled road. And most of the time I am on that less traveled road- which isn’t always an easy one. But some things you just slip into without much thought until you are a little older. None of them are bad things. Just choices. Good or bad. They are choices. And I think in many ways they are choices made without much reflection and made based on sociological and cultural influences. Not intuition. Not careful consideration. I don’t even remember thinking ‘Is this working for me? Or against me?’ Or ‘Am I choosing this? Or is it choosing me for that lack of actual thought and consideration?’ But that’s life, man. Not every choice is made with deep consideration. And that doesn’t mean they are mistakes either.




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