“Normality is a paved road: It’s comfortable to walk, but no flowers grow on it.”
Vincent van Gogh
mener une vie normale <French>
to lead a normal life
“Human happiness comes not from infrequent pieces of good fortune, but from the small improvements to daily life.”
“When inspiration does not come to me, I go halfway to meet it.”
Let’s just say “normal” gets a really bad rap. It constantly has to fight off “boring” and “same as” and “routine” and … well … let’s just say a shitload of ‘not-so-positive’ sounding words.
I mean, c’mon, is normal really that frickin’ bad?
And what hell is ‘normal’ … as in a normal life … anyway?
Anyway. I imagine, as with most things in Life, normal is about balance.
Yeah, yeah, yeah … I know a shitload of people will suggest that ‘normal’ is defined by the individual and how they view life but, in general, at one end of the ‘how to live your life’ spectrum is wacko eccentric person and the other end is bland milquetoast boring to tears person.
Most of us reside somewhere in the middle of all that.
I tend to believe the problem is in how we most often have this discussion.
When we talk about living a ‘normal’ life it almost seems destined for some boredom and certainly when you decide to sit back with some self-reflection, uhm …, it will most likely be generously dipped in some disappointment. Then, on the other hand, it seems like a choice to live an ‘anything but normal’ life it almost seems destined for some sanity challenges and certainly some self-reflection generously dipped in some discouragement.
Yikes. So your choice is either disappointment or discouragement.
Look. None of us really want to be normal all the time. We want to spice it up a little and maybe do something not so normal for us <albeit, it could be fairly tame, or absurdly reckless, in other people’s eyes>. It is that little choice that ‘step away from what we normally do and think’ that kind of gets us in trouble.
Why? Because most times we ‘step away’ by ‘being spontaneous.’
<note: spontaneous has a dubious relationship with ‘something different than the normal’>
Whew. Truth be told … spontaneity sounds awesome <in concept> but more often than not disappointing. Not many people point this out but spontaneity actually sucks because anything “abnormal” or “not normal” is a great concept but has a nasty habit of creating more problems than it is worth.
Truth be told routines <which is a characteristic of ‘normal life’> do a shitload to help establish our day-to-day ‘normal’ with a nice side benefit that it encourages us to believe we do have some self-discipline <because the alternative is that we start thinking we live a completely chaotic undisciplined life>.
My advice? Don’t. Don’t think them through. Just let them occur as naturally as breathing because these stupid little things tend to create a larger sense of rhythm or normalcy in your life. And, yeah, even eccentric nutjobs incorporate some ‘normal’ routines in their daily Life.
But here is where balance enters the discussion because we want both <although in today’s world it seems like there is no in between>.
It may seem weird, but I tend to believe no one’s sole ambition in Life is to be viewed solely as ‘normal.’ And, yet, we can live a pretty frickin’ good Life ‘normally.’ In fact. Our normal most likely incorporates some fairly ‘abnormal’, or let’s call them ‘unique features’, aspects. Most of us actually incorporate some unique shit into our lives which are simply reflections of our personality uniqueness. But because they are extensions of who we are we overlook them a being ‘normal.’
Let’s face it.
And it should not.
“I don’t really want to become normal, average, standard. I want merely to gain in strength, in the courage to live out my life more fully, enjoy more, experience more.
I want to develop even more original and more unconventional traits.”
This isn’t about ‘fitting in’ or some rigid code of conduct or even seeking approval in what you do. This is about doing shit that makes you happy assuming ‘happy’ means you haven’t been:
<a> laughed at as a fool – just laughed at for having fun,
<b> stared at as if you belong in some loony bin – just stared at because they know you are enjoying yourself , or
<c> doing something insanely stupid just to gain some attention.
Yeah. Sometimes the shit you do may be out of the mainstream, but 99% of the time it is not unacceptable to everyone. It is just is not the normal everyday 100% of the time shit people see or hear.
Whether you like it or not … suggesting ‘normal’ is completely self defined is … well … stupid.
Yes. You should have your own way of seeing the world and the life you’re living.
Yes. You should feel it is normal <as long as it is not a ‘statement’ but rather an natural extension of your ‘self’>.
Yes. You should accept the idea that other people may feel differently about your version of normal.
All that said here is where I think normal and abnormal go into conflict.
Yes. You should understand that normal is actually defined by some standard operating procedures of the people, society & culture as a whole.
And, no, I am not suggesting some of the wacky crap society thrusts upon an individual <society tells me how I should be stuff> but rather the fact cultures, civilizations in a broader perspective, define some accepted rules of behavior – some “what I should do” stuff.
Let’s call them ‘core life action basics.’ These are some normal things which everyone should do and think in a normal day and a normal life.
Here is the good news for people who balk at ‘normal.’
The great thing about culture is it tends to give an individual a lot of room to expand upon these things. You can go about your life wearing whatever clothes you want and saying a bunch of different words as personal expression beyond the core. I call that ‘window dressing stuff.’ In other words I can dress up my core ‘normality crap’ in pretty much anything I want and express it with almost any words I want. The trouble mostly revolves around the fact that some individuals infringe upon the core, change the core and sometimes do things which do not meet what most people would accepts as accepted normal behavior.
Here is not just a Life truth but a civilization truth: a culture cannot permit that ‘abnormal normal’ to become normalized. While we often suggest it takes courage to express yourself in some ‘not-so-normal’ ways it actually takes even more courage to defend core normality.
“My darling girl, when are you going to realize that being normal is not necessarily a virtue? It rather denotes a lack of courage.”
Anyway. When it comes to this topic the bravest people in the world are not the ones who stand out through self-expression of self-identity even if that identity is ‘not the normal’ but rather the people who unflinchingly defend normal core beliefs & behaviors and unflinchingly express it in whatever personal identity way they want.
Far too often we slot people on one side or the other where, in truth, we should be also slotting people into the third more significant slot.
I imagine the problem with that is that those people are not interesting enough to make splashy headlines nor are they boring enough to be masticated for being milquetoast. And, yet, they were the bravest of us all. They chose to be normal & not-so-normal and fought relentlessly for both. Normal may be a paved road, but it still can be a really interesting road.
On my headstone, I think I want, “No one deserved death more.” That way, people will research my life and find nothing interesting, then actually think that for wasting their time.