Are We Alternative?

Have you ever stepped outside the mainstream and found a community of like-minded folks who accepted you completely? Now, more than ever, people are embracing their outsider status and are proud to live apart. Not necessarily frowning on others, but just doing their own thing, and sometimes finding others who like the same things. There is still social pressure from society at large, but it’s easier to bear when you have company.

Among simple-and-ethical living folks (which I would identify as my community), some of the affiliations are:

  • Environmentalists
  • Animal rights activists
  • (Perhaps) Responsible hunters and fishers
  • Vegetarians
  • Vegans
  • Freegans
  • Raw foodies
  • Real foodies
  • Locavores
  • Urban gardeners and community gardeners
  • Public transportation advocates
  • People who don’t own cars
  • Sustainable city planners
  • Community developers
  • Recyclers
  • Reclaimers
  • Refinishers
  • Freecyclers
  • Frugalistas
  • Anti-consumers
  • People whose jobs don’t violate their values
  • People who have paid off debt
  • People who are financially independent
  • People who generate side-incomes
  • Families living on one income or limited incomes, by choice or not
  • Families who care for extra members (aging relatives, etc.)
  • Homeschoolers
  • Quakers, Mennonites, Unitarians and Humanists

For me, it’s not just about what I reject; it’s about what I embrace. I hate showiness and waste. I don’t so much revel in scrimping and doing-without, as I delight in quality goods that last. Instead of the “rush” of an impulse purchase, I like the slow-burn of a well-researched buying decision! I am willing to trade hours of my time for home-cooked food. I applaud those who are working for liveable, walkable, mixed-income neighbourhoods. While my personality prevents me from being a vocal extremist, I find I can uphold my values strongly and quietly. The nice thing is that the culture-at-large is changing, and we are well on the way to being the mainstream and not the outsiders anymore. Hooray!

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  1. Laura @ Move To Portugal

    I feel very alone with this in ‘real life’ that’s why I blog so much – to interact with like minded people. I do accept though that I haven’t gone out of my way to find people who share my alternative lifestyle in my day to day life. Oh to live close to some of my blogging friends 🙂

    • One of the reasons I moved back to my home town is that almost everyone is frugal here! My co-workers include vegetarians, vegans, raw foodies and real foodies. And my fellow Unitarians are eco-friendly! It’s great to feel a sense of belonging.

  2. SarahN

    Agh! I hate showiness (as well as ‘I’m denying this part of me so I can be like those people… blatant ambition and denial of who they are now?)

    Yesterday I called a food coop, and I said to her ‘I’m trying to do the waste free thing’ and she’s like ‘That’s great!’ and the penny dropped, I thought, I’ve found my ‘people’. My normal friends, they get it, but they don’t really understand it…

    Great list… I admire you!

  3. What an inspiring post! I agree… i’d rather be me and have a handful of close friends, then be someone else just to “fit in”!

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