the "conform to social norms" anxiety

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#1
Does someone else here experience this type of anxiety, where you just want to fit in with everyone else.

Don't get me wrong, I love my lifestyle, but I feel pressured into living a normal life, working, having a husband/kids/a house, from time to time and it gives me anxiety attacks.

As it is now I work freelance for a couple of hours a month, live out of my backpack, sleep outside and dumpster dive. I get around by hitchhiking. I love it most of the time but:

Especially now, getting 'older' I don't feel like the careless free hippie I was seen as, but more like a failure. I feel like life was just fun and games but now it's time to grow up, but I just can't. I have some sort of a lifestyle related midlife crisis.

Again, it's just periodically so maybe it's the hormones or idk what...

Does anyone here feel the same way? How do you deal with it? If you are middle aged or even more: how did you handle it.

I hope someone has advice or similar experiences.

Save travels.
 
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#2
Dude, I feel exactly the same way. I'm housed up at the moment...but my Soul just wants to GO. I don't know how much longer my Mind can keep my Heart and Soul satiated. I thought for a minute I might lose a bit of my mind from this.
 

palmazon

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#3
We're all prey to the same impulses - some end up as stamp collectors, others, mass-murderers. It's up to you to determine where you 'fit' in the range of human experience. Granted, we all need food and shelter - however, you have some choice as to how you get it. In my view, 'failure' is mainly unwillingness to strive to improve, whatever 'improvement' means to you.
 

roughdraft

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#4
Does someone else here experience this type of anxiety, where you just want to fit in with everyone else.

Don't get me wrong, I love my lifestyle, but I feel pressured into living a normal life, working, having a husband/kids/a house, from time to time and it gives me anxiety attacks.

As it is now I work freelance for a couple of hours a month, live out of my backpack, sleep outside and dumpster dive. I get around by hitchhiking. I love it most of the time but:

Especially now, getting 'older' I don't feel like the careless free hippie I was seen as, but more like a failure. I feel like life was just fun and games but now it's time to grow up, but I just can't. I have some sort of a lifestyle related midlife crisis.

Again, it's just periodically so maybe it's the hormones or idk what...

Does anyone here feel the same way? How do you deal with it? If you are middle aged or even more: how did you handle it.

I hope someone has advice or similar experiences.

Save travels.
the way that I see it is if you were to *have* this 'normal life, working, having a husband/kids/a house' you would be on a different forum typing this post with everything switched around...you know? except for vvv this part which correlates to both scenarios

.....'As it is now I work these 40 hours and take my kids to soccer 3 times a week[]....but as I am getting older I regret not[]....living out of a pack and sleeping outside...[]' 'I feel like I grew up too fast but I can't just leave my job...I used to feel so successful and secure but now i feel I am more like a failure' 'I have some sort of lifestyle related midlife crisis'......

scary I think. it may sound fatalistic or negative but I truly believe this is just the modern human condition, we're exposed to so much of the possibilities life offers that we'll always be prone to considering alternatives. I think the art of obtaining true(st) happiness is diving as deeply as possible into whatever you've chosen, augmenting the pros and dulling down the cons ::wacky::

As for a similar experience - I can completely relate - I think we possess the will and intelligence to see the pros and cons of various lifestyles or situations...we avoid 'stuff' for the cons right..but we also see the pros and so we feel like we are missing out..but no one gets everything so we are bound to this suffering ::pompus::::soapbox::

So I feel the same way. the way I have dealt with it so far is....doing the best I can yknow...I try to work for money in a certain place for half of the year and spend it very slowly traveling through the other half of the year...and repeat...as I am only in my 20s I cannot say for how long this will last...or which end I will oscillate to if I for whatever reason 'choose' a life that is more transient or more sedentary...and of course it is not that simple everything exists in a grey area, right?

hoping this becomes an interesting discussion...
 
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#5
once and a while my mind will convince itself these people living like that are happier or handle things better, but they aren't and they don't remember that. most of the american and world way, money house kids wife job is a brainwashing, a way of control for larger power and a doing away of your free will and mind. A spoke on the wheel isn't really living. . is it
?
 

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#6
Definitely. Being visibly followed every store you go into, assumptions made about you, police harassment, people talking loudly about you with their friends, and straight up banned from some public services gets way old. I've been doing the normal look for a little while now full time, and it's crazy how different my experiences are. Cops don't give me a second look, people look me in the eye and smile more often than not, nobody wants to keep my backpack when I walk into a store with one on, people don't assume I starve my dog.

I'm 38, so sort of hitting middle age. Basically dropped straight into a relatively normal life after 10 years of living pretty far outside the normal loop. It's actually kind of a relief, for all of the above reasons, but also pretty depressing. I cope by having a larger goal I'm working toward that'll give me most of the freedom of the traveling life (sailboat), and whenever I start to get down I work on my plan for getting to that point. Having something on a larger scale to work toward has made a big difference in my life.
 
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#7
I really never worry about such things, but I can understand.

In my case I found it was best to find a group of individuals that I could truly relate with and who truly understand myself and my views on life and existence. Once you have found people that you truly love and trust, and who want to live life in a similar fashion, acceptance from the outside world becomes less and less important.

I'm reminded of a leary quote, which ends which the instruction "find the others".

“Admit it. You aren’t like them. You’re not even close. You may occasionally dress yourself up as one of them, watch the same mindless television shows as they do, maybe even eat the same fast food sometimes. But it seems that the more you try to fit in, the more you feel like an outsider, watching the “normal people” as they go about their automatic existences. For every time you say club passwords like “Have a nice day” and “Weather’s awful today, eh?”, you yearn inside to say forbidden things like “Tell me something that makes you cry” or “What do you think deja vu is for?”. Face it, you even want to talk to that girl in the elevator. But what if that girl in the elevator (and the balding man who walks past your cubicle at work) are thinking the same thing? Who knows what you might learn from taking a chance on conversation with a stranger? Everyone carries a piece of the puzzle. Nobody comes into your life by mere coincidence. Trust your instincts. Do the unexpected. Find the others…”

― Timothy Leary
 
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#8
if you are a fraction and i group you with a set of whole numbers. wouldn't you stick out as a fraction? if i have shades of black white and grey and you are yellow, wouldn't you stick out as a color?

similarly you will stick out as a person IF you let that happen non-verbally. when in rome, do as the romans. in terms of lifestyle and beliefs, hide that and only let that out around an environment that is conducive.

when you stick out in society and don't conform, what happens? bullying. the guy above, dameon, was right about cops harassing and people giving second looks. this is why i can't dress how i like in public. i have to conform and dress and appear as they desire. there is no choice in doing this if you want to live among mainstream society of any kind.

as for feeling like a failure, that is not non-verbal for others. that's on you. if you put pressures from others on yourself, you are living your life for someone else. that makes zero sense. no one cares about you as much as you do (and should). i am 42 and have never done that in my life. sure i have been ostracized but who cares? i have also never been unhappy. i do conform but that is to earn a living and not be bullied by social etiquette warriors. as for mental health reasons, that does not work against me. i have always said a big F u to society which is one reason i love this site and its members. i celebrate people living on their own terms and doing their own thing. i can't go out there and do it at the level that i would like so i live vicariously here through others. you should be living life for your own happiness, not for what a given society's prescription states.

you will die one day. you are getting older by the day. stop living for others and throw that mental state of mind away immediately. live for yourself and those who lift you up.
 
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Matt Derrick

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#9
Especially now, getting 'older' I don't feel like the careless free hippie I was seen as, but more like a failure. I feel like life was just fun and games but now it's time to grow up, but I just can't. I have some sort of a lifestyle related midlife crisis.
man, let me tell you that paragraph speaks to exactly how i feel, so you're definitely not alone. there's always that creeping feeling that what everyone/society is telling you is right and you're totally fucking up your life. especially when you start having to think about what's going to happen to you when you get older. not having insurance and getting a 4k dental bill really hit this home to me recently.

but 'success' and 'failure' should be defined by the individual, not what society arbitrarily tells you it is; besides, there's usually some ulterior motive for what they are telling you anyways (usually pressing on a 'pain point' to make you buy something that will solve your problems).

so i guess what you have to ask yourself is what does 'success' mean to you? having more and doing less? or doing more with your free time and living frugally? i honestly think that one of the reasons StP exists is to remind people that society is basically a lie, and you should do whatever makes you happy. so go out and live your life the way you want to, and ignore what the naysayers tell you. deep down they just wish they could be as free as you!

now that doesn't mean you're free of the consequences of your actions, so it's important (especially as you get older) to plan ahead and most importantly take care of yourself. the better you get at that now, the better off you'll be when you get 'old'.
 

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#10
I cope by having a larger goal I'm working toward that'll give me most of the freedom of the traveling life (sailboat), and whenever I start to get down I work on my plan for getting to that point. Having something on a larger scale to work toward has made a big difference in my life.
dude, this 100%. just replace 'sailboat' with 'school bus' and this is me to a T. also, the bigger projects i'm working on for StP are obviously part of that 'larger scale work' as well.
 
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#11
I can't believe there are adults, grown adults, who still buy into this "hippie" or "punk" or whatever culture. Jesus christ, I thought it was stupid when I was 15 and now it just seems beyond me that grown adults still take that kind of thing seriously.

Today a crust punk told me "if your not now you never were" and my only reply was "thank God"

Are people so desperate for an identity that they feel they have to latch onto and conform to any nonsense shred of "culture" they can find?

I take psychedelics and wear tie-dye, but I would never call myself a "hippie"
 
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#12
Imagine doing great in life, having your "shit together in societies eyes", and being an honest and good person, and then have others attempt to tell you that you are "a piece of shit", that you are a horrible person who deserves the worst torment and suffering this planet has to offer, and who won't stop until you kill yourself...
 

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#13
I can't believe there are adults, grown adults, who still buy into this "hippie" or "punk" or whatever culture.

Are people so desperate for an identity that they feel they have to latch onto and conform to any nonsense shred of "culture" they can find?
that's very fucking true and real. the fact that it gets even worse than 'punk/hippy' labels too is very revealing. I'm talking identifying with an actual brand that doesn't even have a lifestyle concept around it...someone passionate and aggressive in being identified with a sports team, for example, really bugs me. it's something that people have lost their lives over even. wonders will never cease
 
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#14
that's very fucking true and real. the fact that it gets even worse than 'punk/hippy' labels too is very revealing. I'm talking identifying with an actual brand that doesn't even have a lifestyle concept around it...someone passionate and aggressive in being identified with a sports team, for example, really bugs me. it's something that people have lost their lives over even. wonders will never cease
I totally agree with you there.

I guess I "present an image" but in my case I just wear The things I like, I wear shirts with artwork that I appreciate or bands that I honestly enjoy, but I'm not trying to be "this or that", I am sure that I personally like and dislike things that don't conform to the proper image of a "hippie" or a "punk", and I'm not going to change who I am so people think I am a "real hippy" or a "real punk", and that's what's bothers me, some people will do everything they can to be a "real hippy" or a "real punk" that they loose sight of their true identity. Its a limiting force driven by social.pressures and conformity, it's antithetical to what these "movements" were actually founded on.

We have to create culture, don't watch TV, don't read magazines, don't even listen to NPR. Create your own roadshow. The nexus of space and time where you are now is the most immediate sector of your universe, and if you're worrying about Michael Jackson or Bill Clinton or somebody else, then you are disempowered, you're giving it all away to icons, icons which are maintained by an electronic media so that you want to dress like X or have lips like Y. This is shit-brained, this kind of thinking. That is all cultural diversion, and what is real is you and your friends and your associations, your highs, your orgasms, your hopes, your plans, your fears. And we are told 'no', we're unimportant, we're peripheral. 'Get a degree, get a job, get a this, get a that.' And then you're a player, you don't want to even play in that game. You want to reclaim your mind and get it out of the hands of the cultural engineers who want to turn you into a half-baked moron consuming all this trash that's being manufactured out of the bones of a dying world.”

― Terence McKenna
 
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#15
"what is real is you and your friends and your associations, your highs, your orgasms, your hopes, your plans, your fears."

almost none of my orgasms are real ;P
 

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#16
"what is real is you and your friends and your associations, your highs, your orgasms, your hopes, your plans, your fears."

almost none of my orgasms are real ;P
i can fix that for ya ::wacky::
 
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#17
i've posted here occasionally (i think?) about how i wound up living with family due to mental and physical health stuff, as well as general life dysfunction, and straight up not being able to travel (despite trying a few times), and i've tried at times to get into the whole 'being normal' thing and 'make something of myself' cause it seems like i have no choice, i mean, unless a whole bunch of shit gets better, but it looks like it could still be years if i ever get there, and uh...yeah massive anxiety, not really feeling like it's working. i don't want to complain about having a roof over my head and a family that wans to help me after all my crazy years, i'm trying to make the best of it all, i'm working on going back to school and stuff so maybe that'll be something, or maybe it'll just be a gig and excuse for now.... i don't think my family really considers me a reject and failure but i kind of think they must at some level. i mean i do kind of and i keep going to class even though i feel like it's pointless and going nowhere and going to all fall apart at some point, a decline in my health, or just my depression getting the better of me. i feel like i might end up as a live-in caregiver for my grandma who is declining in her own way and who i seem to be more and more often called on to drive her around and do stuff for her. in short, growing up is a myth, its just an accumulation of damage until youre outta 'hit points'. i guess i'm just venting that i feel like im grounded off the road and i still feel the way you describe, while stuck between two worlds and not really feeling capable to get along in either of them. until someday everything really does fall apart and i have no choice but to head out with a pack again....
 
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#18
Yup, that anxiety hits me and the people around me a lot, though usually from what I've seen it's a subconscious cry of our need for leading productive lives, which doesn't necessarily require conforming to working some shitty 9 to 5 job, also having a husband and kids has nothing to do with conforming if you choose so, frankly speaking having a family must be fucking awesome, otherwise people wouldn't have them in the first place

Maybe try learning a new craft? start up a new permaculture farm? or do whatever you're good at that would make you feel satisfied with yourself
 
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#19
i was a public school teacher at the high school level. i faced this daily. but these are kids and have no choice but to accept what the local dept. of ed. teaches its kids. the killer is college-aged young adults who are going to get destroyed in society when they exit college. the world is a terribly cruel place. no such thing as rights. anything goes. these young adults should know better as they see child labor overseas, domestic human trafficking, mobs paying off cops (just a few weeks back, the NYPD had about 7 guys who were running a prostitution ring and i live near russians who rule the mob with an iron fist and have all sorts of inside connections within the nypd - cross them and they know where you live, no matter who you are) and all kinds of wrongs happening and should realize that might makes right is the name of the game of the human species.

ignorance is bliss until you get punched in the face.
 
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#20
Does someone else here experience this type of anxiety, where you just want to fit in with everyone else.

Don't get me wrong, I love my lifestyle, but I feel pressured into living a normal life, working, having a husband/kids/a house, from time to time and it gives me anxiety attacks.

As it is now I work freelance for a couple of hours a month, live out of my backpack, sleep outside and dumpster dive. I get around by hitchhiking. I love it most of the time but:

Especially now, getting 'older' I don't feel like the careless free hippie I was seen as, but more like a failure. I feel like life was just fun and games but now it's time to grow up, but I just can't. I have some sort of a lifestyle related midlife crisis.

Again, it's just periodically so maybe it's the hormones or idk what...

Does anyone here feel the same way? How do you deal with it? If you are middle aged or even more: how did you handle it.

I hope someone has advice or similar experiences.

Save travels.
I'm happy to be who I am whether conforming to society or not.
 

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