Here’s What Happens When You Challenge Convention

It’s late January and our Christmas tree is still standing proud.

Last year we purchased an artificial tree so we didn’t have to worry about Mr. Poupon, our rambunctious little cat, chomping on needles and gnawing on branches.

This year, because of a delayed family party, the tree stayed up after the holidays and this week I’ve decided to keep it up indefinitely.

It’s festive and beautiful. Each ornament reflects a special memory. And the kid in me loves, loves, loves colored lights .

This decision got me thinking about rules and traditions.

Then last night, Michael and I joined our friend John for dinner at a local Italian restaurant. At the end of the meal, John ordered a piece of chocolate cake. When the server delivered his plate, she exclaimed…

“This is one of our best desserts!”

Then she bent down and whispered…

“Every now and then I take a piece home with me and when my kids go off to school, I make myself a cup of coffee and have it for breakfast.”

She stood up, smiled and added…

“I know you’re not supposed to eat cake for breakfast, but I think it’s fun!”

Who said we’re not supposed to eat cake for breakfast, I wondered as we walked out of the restaurant.

There’s another rule.

How wonderful to be growing wiser and to feel more comfortable questioning the rules we follow.

It’s such an important act of self-care.

My husband Michael writes until four or five in the morning and goes to sleep when the sun comes up. For years we wrestled with the difference in our schedules. He felt judged about not fitting in with the rest of the world and I had a hard time explaining the difference to friends and family.

Then one day we surrendered to our unorthodox arrangement and created a way to make it work in our favor.

When we made peace with our new rule, everyone else did, too.

It’s good to challenge convention.

Sometimes I take a relaxing bath in the middle of the day.

Or I exercise just before bed.

It works for me. And that’s all that matters.

I’m curious about the rules and traditions you’ve changed or broken?

I’m looking for more good ideas .


Merry 29th January 2015 2:59 pm

I have a relationship different from any I could have imagined, with a "sweet friend" who is 26 years older than me (we are 48 and 74). We see each other a few times a month. We have a meal, take a walk and later do a little affectionate holding and non-sexual touching. We also are in a meditative dance group together. We adore each other and consider the relationship sacred. He calls me "Goddess", I call him "Angelo." There are few expectations and no agenda, except to understand, enjoy and support each other. Total freedom, total love. Eventually I will probably enter into a more conventional relationship with someone closer to my age, but this has been an incredible blessing and a lesson that each relationship is unique and every aspect is negotiable and "creatable". And I'm sure that my next "conventional" relationship will be unique, as well, now that I have the consciousness to question the rules .


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Author Information

Cheryl Richardson

Cheryl Richardson is the New York Times bestselling author of several books including, Take Time for Your LifeLife MakeoversStand Up for Your LifeThe Unmistakable Touch of GraceThe Art of Extreme Self Care, You Can Create an Exceptional Life with Louise Hay, and her new book, Waking Up in Winter: In Search of What Really Matters at Midlife.

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