I first began breaking the rules in high school. They were other people’s rules for my life. Other people, namely teachers and counselors, had ideas about my high school career - classes I should take (AP History and Calculus) and careers I should pursue (not teaching). During high school I reached the equivalent of “burn out” - tired of pushing myself to earn straight A’s, tired of the honors classes, tired of living up to everyone else’s expectations. I rebelled and took “regular classes,” decided I would become a teacher so I could do things differently and not treat my students the way my teachers had treated me.
As a young adult, I decided to continue the rule-breaking trend. I moved in with the man who would become my husband when we were both just shy of our twenty-second birthdays. A year later we were married, in a non-denominational chapel with a reception in my parents’ living room where the twenty-five guests enjoyed cake and champagne. Again, I had done it wrong. Lived with a man before we were married. Had a simple wedding instead of an elaborate ceremony.
Our married life was more of the same - making choices that fit our lifestyle while not adhering to everyone else’s pre-conceived ideas. We lived in Los Angeles, without a car. He worked, I went to college and worked part-time. We rented an apartment and had no immediate plans to become homeowners.
Some thought we might “settle down,” finally fit into the mold others had lined up for us. We didn’t. We continued to rent when we moved from our one bedroom apartment into a three bedroom town home. We chose to postpone parenthood, waiting nine years after our wedding to welcome our son into the world.
We’re terrible parents, to some. We haven’t done it right. We rent a home, instead of owning one that would require a lengthy daily commute to and from our jobs. Instead, we both worked less than five miles from our home. And we are not having another child.
People - family, co-workers, mere acquaintances, are never shy to voice their disapproval. We have broken the rules; gone against the norm. To me it makes perfect sense that my husband and I would be these renegade adults - we each have committed to our relationship, living the way we both thought was best for us. We have heard comments about our inter-racial relationship, our son’s skin color, and though the year is 2013 and we have again elected an African-American president, certain limitations still exist.
Turns out, the general population isn’t as open-minded as we may have hoped. People have very fixed ideas about the boxes our lives should fit into. And when we instead make the choices that are best for us, it is deemed wrong. We have broken the unspoken rules.
We will continue to do so. And I can only hope that our son will follow in our footsteps.