Do You Ever Question The Rules?


My husband once used the words ‘conventional’ and ‘Alison‘ in the same sentence; I told him what I planned to do with his ashes.

I bought the Question The Rules course a couple of weeks ago from Johnny B. Truant and Lee Stranahan.

It’s called QTR for short which could also stand, in this case, for Quit The Ratrace.

It’s a business course but it’s mostly about having attitude, questioning conventional wisdom and having the confidence to do your thing, whatever that happens to be.

I have never, ever, ever bought a thing like this before.

So why did I change the habit of a lifetime? Because I like their anarchic approach.

You see, I like to think that I am punk rock.

I remember those guys going around London with their red, white and blue mohicans, their chains and safety pins, angry makeup and even angrier T shirts.

My rebellion comprised of an odd number of ear piercings and an attempt to change my hair color with a wash-out dye but still, I like to think I am quietly outrageous.

Now I might look a regular surburban mom of two: I do the school run, help organize the Book Sale, heck (or in Johnny/Lee-speak, that would be fuck,) I even drive a white mini-van. But underneath it all, I like to think I am different, rebellious.

Punk rock, see?

I’ve done lots of things I consider slightly unusual.

I’ve traveled solo around the world, had a great career in a male dominated industry at a time when it was rare for a woman to do so, I’ve moved 5,000 miles from my hometown, I’m bringing up twins, I’ve homeschooled.

Not earth-shatteringly different like trying to discover electricity or anything but different. Just a little bit out there. A little bit pushing the envelope. A bit of an edge.

A bit.

Each time I’ve had to confront the doubts, and sometimes downright derision from some around me and when you appear to be treading the conventional path, even a little diversion provokes a huge ball of fear in your peers.

When I went traveling in my mid-twenties, some people expected me, who had a mortgage, more business suits than you could shake a stick at and who was more used to staying in the Four Seasons than a cockroach-infested shack somewhere in the Outback, to last three months.

My goal was twelve.

This depressed me a bit, made me feel the goal I had set myself was impossibly high and that I was naïve for believing I could do it.

But one day around eight weeks into my trip, a housemate told me that the only people who’d laugh if I did go home after a few weeks would be those who’d never have attempted to do it themselves in the first place.

And that kept me going…and going…and going.

So I have decided to Question The Rules. Be punk rock. Form the band and learn to play the instruments later.

I don’t know what I am doing half the time in my life, sometimes I make mistakes and sometimes I overshoot boundaries.

But that is more than offset by the sense of achievement, of taking a risk independent of any outcome, of the progress made in spite of imperfections.

And, Johnny, I always thought that was a tennis ball you were eating 😉

Do you ever question the rules? Step outside that box you’ve established for yourself? Try something different and stare down the doubts of those around you? Let me know in the comments!

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{ 4 comments… read them below or add one }

Mary E. Ulrich
May 20, 2010 at 3:29 am

Alison, I loved your ideas, your writing style and your sass. I’m checking out your blog and hope to follow your punk:)

ps. I always wondered if eating the little green apple was a reference to the Garden of Eden.


alisongolden May 20, 2010 at 9:38 am

Hi Mary:

I’m so glad you enjoyed it! Hmmmm, Johnny in the Garden of Eden…so who would be Eve in that scenario…Lee? 🙂



vickip May 25, 2012 at 5:51 am

I’m totally with you! I love stretching (even breaking) the rules! When I lost my job a few months ago, I rebelled by getting a very short, black pixie haircut and a facial piercing ( a monroe piercing) – at age 47! Unfortunatley the piercing became badly infected and I had to remove it/let it heal over. But for a month i was baaad-ass! 🙂


Alison Golden August 25, 2012 at 4:15 am

I don’t know what a monroe piercing is so I guess I’m simply not badass enough! 🙂
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