My brother and I were talking on the phone the other night, discussing my plans to leave Minnesota for good and move to Colorado forever in order to fulfill my 30-year dream of planting some real roots in the Rocky Mountains.
Those majestic mountains have been calling my name for far too long.
After hearing how excited I am for a “new beginning,” he made what some would consider to be a snide comment: “So what’s new? You seem to have a new beginning every few years.”
This unintentional jab struck a chord with me.
Stuck With A Label That Doesn’t Fit
I realize I’m probably being way too sensitive, but I’ve had roots in Minnesota for over 17 years, 14 of which have been in the same house. I was married for nine long years. And I worked at my last two companies for over eight years…each. Still, no matter what I say or do, I can’t shake this inaccurate and inappropriate reputation of being ‘flighty.’
I’m far from unstable, and ok…I’ll admit I’m probably far from stable too (especially if stable is defined as married with children in suburbia). I think I’m just a happy-medium kind of gal who’s still trying to find her way in this world.
I feel they consider my trying to live my life to the fullest, in spite of circumstances, to be unsteady.
I understand that raising a family requires stability and that my lifestyle is so far from their reality, it’s not even funny. But I try, probably unsuccessfully, not to judge their more conservative (and not necessarily more ideal) choices.
I have a sneaky suspicion that many resort-town locals encounter this same type of push-back and resentment. Actually, I know so.
Choosing a Different Path
I’ve spoken with several local friends over the years about the fact that many city dwellers, especially those who are family members, perceive the resort-town local to be a special breed (and I don’t mean that in a good way). They look at us as if we live in the Land of Misfits, kind of like Rudolph the red-nosed reindeer and his new dentist friend, Herbie.
So what if I grow bored of the same old, same old?
I see this boredom as a positive indicator that keeps me on my toes, staying eager to learn and explore and try new things. Personally, I’d much rather experience all that life has to offer versus staying steady in one locale my entire life. But then again, I don’t have an immediate family that requires caretaking and major roots.
A few years ago, my sister and I were in the Rome airport having an argument after a long travel day when she not-so-subtly hinted that ‘all I do is think of myself.’ I not-so-subtly hinted back that ‘who the hell else was I supposed to think of?”
Shoot me, but I don’t have a spouse or kids. And then I went on to remind her that I clearly wasn’t thinking only of myself when I invited her on the all-expense paid Amalfi Coast/Tuscany trip.
At least luxurious travel is one perk that comes with being the sister of a misfit.
I guess this thorn in my side is nestling in for the long haul. I’ll get used to the pain. The older I get, the more I look to myself for approval anyway, so I’m ok with that thorn planting roots.
I know everyone (both free-wheeling misfits and firmly-planted steadies) is just trying to create a life that works for them the best they know how.
I may voice my ‘absurd’ dreams louder than my siblings. Especially that recurring dream about wanting to work from anywhere…on my terms…whenever I want. Maybe giving voice to those dreams turn them into reality, because — at least for today — I’m living this dream.
Soon, another dream will become a reality too: planting my roots in Colorado, where I sense I’ve always belonged. And oh, how good this new reality will feel: becoming part of a worthwhile community of dreaming misfits.
We want to hear from you.
Are you a resort-town local who feels dismissed at times by your family and friends? If so, do you care? Have you shunned society’s norms to live a life on your terms? Are you sick of being labeled a misfit?
Contributor: Connie Hammond