I once told Himself that he wasn’t Normal. You may not be entirely surprised to hear it didn’t go down well 😉 So I tried again, for I really & truly meant it as a compliment. My next suggestion was “not Ordinary” which was better received, but I was still getting some side-eye…
What I’d meant was not run of the mill, different from your average Joe – instead it had come out sounding like I meant deficient in some way. The thing is Himself isn’t like anyone I’ve ever met (and I’m old and have met a wide array of people), yet among his peers, he’s fairly typical. So, what is normal?
adjective: conforming to a type, standard, or regular pattern : characterized by that which is considered usual, typical, or routine.
If we look at this definition, it doesn’t help as much as it could, for there’s still the question of who’s doing the defining of what is standard? Clearly what I think of as standard is very different to Himself and his peer group.
What doesn’t help with this whole question is that common usage can lead to subtle changes in the meaning of words. So, not normal (or abnormal) isn’t regarded as just different from the usual, for many it’s moved further down the spectrum, ending up as something more negative.
But I also wonder if being normal just isn’t considered enough any more?
At a recent networking event, we were asked to share our dreams for the future, and I found myself rejecting my normal dream – a dream which I consider entirely big enough – and replacing it with a ludicrously big one. In order to select something, I’d dug deep and picked something I’m unlikely to achieve; indeed, something I’m not entirely sure I’d even want to achieve. For I like a quiet life, I like to do good work. I like to be satisfied I’ve provided a good service to my clients, and to be financially secure while I’m at it. I honestly wouldn’t want the grief of being in the public eye – for there’s a tendency to shoot at people once they get there – and even if they’re only shooting with words, I’d prefer to avoid those slings & arrows. But I clearly felt the pressure to go big or go home and I still don’t know exactly why.
I’m not sure what the outcome of this navel gazing is – but I’d be interested in hearing opinions on what constitutes normal, and whether normality should be considered a more valid life goal.
© Debra Carey, 2021