Does normal exist anymore? In fact, did it ever? I once heard a good quote, “Normal people are just people you don’t know very well yet”. Once upon a time, the world existed in the mindset that everybody was normal, lived a normal life, wore normal clothes, and only hippies, radicals, and the like stood out from this crowd. I think nowadays the message to be unique and be yourself has people wondering what that self is. If we are all trying to find ourselves, and stand out with our unique talents and beliefs…isn’t trying to be unique now the new normal, and trying to be normal, the new stand out?
I come from a family of four kids. Four very successful and very different kids…but, when young we all strived to have the same goals, same achievements, same wealth, and same standards of life. And now as adults, none of us are living identical lives. Not all good, not all bad, not all of our choices are the right ones in hindsight, but we are all living within today’s standards of “normal”, which are frankly, well… none.
I had a recent discussion with my brother, where I said, “You know, in the eyes of what is considered traditionally normal, you are the only one of us living that life”. He has 3 kids, 2 cats and dog, an addition on his house, has been married to the same woman for 10 years, loves golfing, going to cottages, planning vacations, and having backyard barbecues. In the eyes of what my parents dreamed for us, he is living that dream. Well, unless you count the Tiki Bar and Jimmy Buffet obsession…
I, on the other hand, have lived another life that though many people envy, has been frought with ups and downs, mainly based on my own fears of perpetually striving to improve, or having false assumptions that I was meant for something more than all those ‘normal’ kids. That I, of all people, truly was special. My measures of failure have been unrealistic, and my hopes and dreams have at times been abnormally big. However, look at my photos, hear my stories, and imagine you are living my life….and you too will think I’ve lived the dream. At least an interesting version of it.
Though I don’t have regrets (most of the time), I do have a newfound respect and love for my brother and his happiness in the simple things. As I get older I want to remember life how I did when I was younger. I strive to have quiet nights, joy in the small stuff and an appreciation of the people and things in my life. Not to mention that I sort of now love who I am more for my failures and epiphanies than my quote-on-quote “successes”. I’m tired of struggling and striving and trying to be who I thought I should be…and am just excited to be who I am. Or at a minimum continuing to figure out who that is. I’m tired of making big plans, and ready to make little ones…because life is marathon, not a sprint my friend.
It’s amazing what ordinary people can do if they set out without preconceived notions. – Ben Stein
The Ginga Ninja