"That so few now dare be eccentric marks the chief danger of our time." - John Stuart Mill
I read this quote on a new gardening forum I'm trying out, and it really resonated with me. Lately, I've been thinking a lot about what it means to be "different" vs. "eccentric" vs. "weird". Where is the line drawn? I mean, to some degree, one man's "weird" is another man's "eccentric". But there are certain people that everybody agrees are weird, and they are frequently alienated from society (often by their own preference).
I am not sure where Ethan and I fall in the different/eccentric/weird spectrum, but over the past year or so, I have noticed that we are definitely somewhere on it. We make life choices that many people, including a lot of our friends, do not understand. For example, we choose to be very frugal in a lot of ways, although our incomes do not require it. But we have goals for financial independence, which we strive to achieve through frugality. And most of the things we choose to be frugal about are things that we just don't appreciate enough to spend money on. Cable t.v. for example, or fine wine to drink with our at home dinners (we have boxed wine for our "house" wine).
Some of our choices come from my desire to lessen our negative impact on the earth or reduce the influence of chemicals on our bodies. I think if some people knew that I wash plastic bags for re-use, have given up paper towels, and am trying to consistently bake bread at home (sans bread-maker, no less), we would move a little further toward "weird" on the weirdness line.
And yet, compared to some of the people on that gardening forum, I feel like a hedonistic mega-consumer. We don't buy organic meat (too expensive). We don't raise our own goats (but I do kind of want to try chickens). And we don't make our own clothes (oh hell no. I'll patch things, but I'm no fashion designer).
So I'm trying to figure out how to be who we are, because I really like the direction we're moving, without becoming societal castoffs. I don't want to alienate my friends and coworkers by making them feel like I'm criticizing their lifestyles. I know that most people can't or won't make the choices we do. But I figure if, by living our lifestyle, we convince one person to recycle or line dry their clothes, we've made a positive impact. And that's good enough for me.