Daily Prompt: Is being “normal” — whatever that means to you — a good thing, or a bad thing? Neither?
When we experience something that moves us or changes us in a profound way, or which unsettles us in a very pronounced manner, we sometimes equate things getting better to things going back to normal.
I like that the prompt leaves the meaning of normal open without confining it to a concept which might apply to all.
I had to let a sigh out as I started focusing on defining my “normal”. To me, that would be “status quo” or the way that things are — or that state where things used to be before the life-changing event that shook my world. That it is good or bad or was good or bad then is what will define if it’s a good or bad thing to be back to as a state of being. (I know I’m probably only making sense to myself at this point. Please bear with me.)
We often tend to accept everything that goes on around us as “normal” — whether they help us grow or hold us back. Although “normal” as a concept is usually thought of as something positive, it’s not always the case. There are times when we just resign ourselves to a state of being because we somehow become convinced that whatever that state is, it is okay.
I remember a friend who chose to keep the peace instead of pursuing the one love he had always coveted. It was a choice between keeping his family happy and keeping the peace as he called it but forfeiting his own happiness, or risking their wrath and ire to fight for what he thought was his one shot to be truly happy. He chose “normal” against what would not be normal but would have meant “better”. He chose to give up his own happiness to make others happy. So where does that leave “normal” as being good or bad? It is ironic that in sticking to “normal”, he ruined the life of the one person he declared to be his one true love. In his “normal” state he thinks she’s fine.. and it easy to be blindsided by the thought that in thinking one is doing the right thing, any consequence of that action has to be good. Normal then, is a state of denial that all is well when it is not.
And there are those times when we try to break free from what is ‘normal’, seeking to find a better state but failing in our journey to find it. Then we go back to what we had hoped to shake free from, and by some miracle, things go back to what they used to be — back to the ‘normal’ one had sought to be free of. And things go back to being the same way they were — even if one has changed in the process. So you learn to accept “normal” and just stop struggling against it, steeped in the realization that that is where you are meant to be. That that is your “normal” — this is how you are supposed to be. Acceptance comes as a matter of course. Normal becomes a fact of acceptance in which case it is neither bad or good. It’s a safe place to be, to be there where you are — you are neither above or below the status quo. It’s not a “good thing” or a “bad thing” — it just “IS”.
So when is “normal” good?
When “normal” is an ideal and not just the common state, when we manage to go above what we are used to as the norm and achieve something better, then normal is good. When we stick to the basics of one plus one equals two and stop convincing ourselves that one plus one equals one, then we can achieve a normal that has no ifs or buts. It’s when we can be true to how we feel without reservations and when we can seek the forgiveness of those whose hearts we broke in the course of our pursuit of normal can we truly say we have found a state of “normal” that is good.
Sometimes to be “normal” is to be “safe”.
To me, being “normal” is good. It lets me go from day to day knowing I’m still able to look forward to the next day. That although I try to live my life a day at a time, I know there’s going to be another one coming even as the sun sets. I can disappear into the background and know that it won’t rock anyone’s world if I decide not to come out of the anonymity of fading into the crowd. I don’t need to be anything but normal. I tried to once before, and failed miserably at it. For all the heartache and the battlescars I carry from trying, I think that I’ve learned my lesson and have found my place under the sun. Embracing normal as this life I am living.
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