Monday, May 9, 2011

Conventional thinking versus unconventional thinking

Over the past several years we have toyed with some fairly unusual ideas. I’d guess our family and acquaintances would call us weird, eccentric, off the wall, and/or crazy. (I guess biking across the USA was kind of a crazy idea.) The ironic thing is I think we are the most normal people I know.

That being said I’m glad only a few of our friends follow this blog as it would be somewhat embarrassing if everyone we know knew the thoughts and actions we have on a daily basis.

Hopefully the people following this blog are kind of similar to our value set and not the kind to poke fun of the weird guys.

Anyways, I was thinking there is usually a conventional way people do things and unconventional ways things are done. I don’t really think the conventional way is right or wrong nor do I think the unconventional way is worse or better. I’m always very glad to hear different ideas and opinions on the way people think things should be done.

Here are some thoughts and actions I’ve heard in the past little while. These are not necessarily my thoughts so don’t start throwing rocks at me for these crazy ideas.


Conventional thinking

I need a good job to pay the bills

Unconventional thinking

If I don’t spend money I don’t need a job

If I work less I’ll have less taxes and expenses and can probably get by just as well as when I work longer

If I find ways to save money I won’t have to work as much

I can work for myself


Conventional thinking

People must plan for retirement

Unconventional thinking

I’m going to retire right now and worry about the future later

These are the best years of my life I’m not going to waste them

The earth is going to end before I get to retirement age

Conventional thinking

I’d like to own a big house with a white picket fence

Unconventional thinking

I want a small house

I want a unique house

My children will share bedrooms

The outdoors transition area is just as important as the house

I want to live in a motor home the rest of my life

I’d rather rent a house than buy


Conventional thinking

I will have a contractor build my house

Unconventional thinking

I want to build my house myself

I will use local building materials

I will use healthy non off-gassing materials

I will have friends and family help build my house

I’m going to use solar and wind as alternative electrical sources

I will life off grid


Conventional thinking

I need to go to the grocery store to get food

Unconventional thinking

I want to buy local food

I will buy food in season

I can grow my own food

I want to know where my food comes from and how it is produced


Conventional thinking

Every family needs two vehicles

Unconventional thinking

I can use a bike to get to work or school

I can ride the bus to a neighboring city

I can hitch hike


Conventional thinking

My kids will go to school when they are four years old

Unconventional thinking

My kids will learn from me at home

My kids can learn at their own pace on their own schedule

Life experiences are just as important as formal education


Conventional thinking

Debt is normal

Unconventional thinking

I will buy everything with cash

I will not go into debt to buy a house

I will not go into debt to buy a car

I will not go into debt to get an education


Conventional thinking

I need a sprinkler system for my lawn

Unconventional thinking

I will harvest rainwater

I will use a gray water system

I will grow plants that are accustomed to the local rainfall patterns


Like I said above, these are not necessarily my thoughts. We probably fall into conventional thinking just as often as unconventional thinking but I applaud anyone with the guts to go a different way.

So my point in writing this is to look beyond the conventional, everybody’s doing it way. Conventionality shouldn’t dictate how you or I decide to things. But being unconventional doesn’t really mean it’s better than the conventional action.

Another point. The more people do things unconventionally the more that same action becomes the norm. I suppose the best way to do things is to look at your life and determine what is best for yourself and your family no matter what everybody else is doing.

I wonder what flack I’m going to get from my friends and family over this post? And no pointing fingers or throwing rocks at me the next time you see me.

What other ideas do you think of when considering conventional versus unconventional thinking?


  1. I've read a number of your posts and I think this all comes down to location. Where you currently live your family may come off as weird. Where I live you would probably be considered average and normal to many and what type of fun would that be?

  2. Very true Anonymous. We were quite normal in California and believe it or not our little city in Montana.

    And you are right in saying "what fun would it be if we were the same as everyone else."

    Thanks for the comment.

  3. I'd like to see Milly's face when you tell her that her daughter should hitch hike to town for the new fangled moving picture continue to crack me up.

  4. Roberta, I can't tell you how happy it makes me to get comments from you. I often think of you reading these posts in the hopes of cracking you up.

    Anyone with a handle like Crazy Dog Lady fits in really well with us here on The Simple Farm.

    And for your information, Milly and I have hitched hiked quite often. How else were we going to get from Sauniatu to Apia on a Sunday afternoon.