Once again I’m hooking up with Em, Lin and Katrin for Random Thursday, and this week’s topic is a doozy! I think almost all of us have something “weird” in our habits or personalities that is just a by-product of how we were raised. A few of the things about me that are “weird” but seem perfectly normal based on how I was raised…
1. I read. A lot. Thanks to blogging I’ve finally met other book-obsessed who understand this, but in RL I don’t know a lot of avid readers. When I was growing up we rarely watched TV and since we lived in a small town, didn’t go out a lot to events. Also, the winters were rather harsh, so we spent a lot of time inside during those months! My parents made sure we had ready access to the library though, and we grew up reading past our grade levels. It wasn’t until I was a little older that I started to understand why all of this bookwormishness wasn’t “normal” to other people, but as a kid I just felt sorry for people who didn’t read often enough. I guess I thought they couldn’t read very well and they just said they didn’t like reading to cover that fact. Now that I’m an adult I’ve realized that some people just genuinely don’t like reading, but I still feel sorry for them (perhaps even more so).
2. I like healthy food. My parents pushed us to eat vegetables and healthy snacks; things like chips and soda were “treats”, and we rarely ate at restaurants. As an adult, even with a hyperactive sweet tooth, that focus on healthy eating is still drilled into my subconscious. I don’t have a big appetite for packaged junk food; it tastes really strange to me. I count myself lucky that I grew up in a household that served apples instead of chips with our lunches, because it’s made it easier to develop healthy habits as an adult, when there’s no one watching you and forcing you to be good!
3. I’m a budget nut. I credit my Dad for teaching us kids to be responsible with our money, even when we were too young to really understand things like interest rates. I’m sure some people think my habits of budgeting, shopping and saving are really weird, but thanks to those early lessons I’ve managed to stay debt-free as an adult and still have a little extra for a rainy day. When my husband and I first got together he thought it was really strange that I would say I had no money to spend, when he knew very well I had money in the bank. It took him a while to realize that there was a difference between “money to spend” and “money to save indefinitely”. If I don’t have cash on hand for something like clothes or travel, I wait until I do. Sometimes it’s no fun, but it’s kept me out of trouble in the money department!
4. I’m quiet. There are multiple facets to this. One is that we had a very small family, so I wasn’t accustomed to huge groups of relatives and friends milling about. Lots of people and noise is too much for me. Also, my parents more or less expected us to be well-mannered children, and part of that means no running and screaming in public places. We were expected to be quiet, polite and respectful of the people around us. The third thing would be that my dad worked all kinds of crazy shifts while I was growing up, so were expected to be quiet during the day while he slept. As an adult sometimes I have to remind myself to be a little more loud and assertive, especially at work, instead of constantly trying to be quiet and not bother other people by making noise. I think sometimes they forget that I’m there! (Can be good or bad, depending on the circumstances!) Even if I’m home alone, I catch myself trying to shut doors without clicking the latch. Old habits, I guess.
5. I’m a night owl. Like I said, my dad worked every shift in the book, including lots of night shifts. We were homeschooled, so since we were at home during the day while he slept, our schedule inevitably bounced around from a “normal” school schedule so we could work quietly on assignments while he slept or was away and have family time when he was awake. I know a lot of adults frowned on our irregular school schedule, but I’d like to think it’s made me a more flexible adult in the work/sleep/have a life balance. I can shift around pretty easily if I need to because I’ve never really had a set schedule of sleeping and working. Honestly, after so many years on night shift, I really can’t fathom working days again!
6. I grade my life as pass/fail. When I was a kid we got teased for being “weird” because we didn’t go to public school. I guess it was assumed that we weren’t really doing any school work at home. Ha! I don’t remember a lot of the stuff we did but I do remember that my mom wasn’t keen on the whole “A, B, etc.” system of grading–if we didn’t do our work up to a certain standard, we redid it. It was a pass/fail system with no option to fail. It was just expected that we would do extra, read more books, take up extracurricular hobbies (I dabbled in photography), etc. Because I was always expected to do my best as a kid, I’ve always had a certain expectation that I would do my best in the rest of my life, rather than settling for “good enough”. To this day I get teased for taking things too seriously or working too hard but I’ve made a pretty good life for myself and most of the time I manage to get what I want by working hard for it, so I would say that there’s no need to change my methods!!
7. I DIY. Whether it’s fiddling with the car, baking and cooking, sewing clothes, painting furniture–I DIY a lot of things in my daily life. I suppose this part of my childhood came partly from trying to stretch the almighty dollar instead of being wasteful, and partly because my parents wanted us to learn to be resourceful and creative. It worked. I’ve done a lot of DIY as an adult that has saved me money over a professional job and/or given me the satisfaction of having something unique instead of mass-produced.
Overall I think a lot of the “weird” things about how I was raised have made me a better person in the long run. I didn’t have a lot of the normal food, toys or experiences that other kids my age might have had, but I took away a lot of values and lessons that have served me very well as an adult.
What “weird” things about your life are just a part of how you were raised? Tell me in the comments!