I was chatting with my Mum today and she was saying that “at her age she should be settling down a little and living a normal life”.
She said that whenever she tries to do this something doesn’t feel right inside. She always has more ambitions, goals and plans she wants to pursue. Whenever she tries to ‘settle down’ it’s as if she’s trying to fit a mold that was created for someone else.
I suggested that perhaps she give up trying to be normal, and just accept that she can’t be. Instead of struggling to be normal, she could live her life in exactly the way she wants to and simply forget about the concept of normal.
The more I thought about it, I realized this suggestion is wise for all of us.
As people living in a shared world, we have this strange perception that there is some state of being out there in which ‘most people’ exist happily. We label this state as ‘normal’.
What I’ve learned in my brief time in this world is that there is no such thing as normal.
Try as hard as you like to be like someone you know: your parents, your friends, your boss or colleagues. All of them will have things in common with you, yet they will be different in significant ways.
(Sidenote: you rarely hear anybody label themselves as normal, it is always ‘other people’ who are the normal ones.)
While there is no normal, I do believe there is a conspiracy of normal.
We watch other people doing what they do and we figure we should emulate them. We try our best to be like them, and meanwhile they do their best to be like us. In the end, nobody becomes their true unique self because they are trying to act like the ‘normal’ they presume others are.
Through misguided emulation, we are all fooling ourselves into the belief that following the example of others is somehow a good idea for us.
It’s not. For you. Or for them.
When you compare yourself to another person, in every case you will either compare favorably or unfavorably. You or the other person will somehow come out better or worse. It’s just a big waste of time.
But when you compare yourself only to what is inside you, your hopes and dreams, suddenly something feels right.
This inner you – the person you’ve always wanted to be – is the only one you should be guided by.
Normal is a myth that we try to fool ourselves into believing.
Who you are is the truth.