My Journey

When I Grow Up I Want to Be “Normal”


Normal is a myth; it doesn’t exist. Normal is an elusive shadow. Normal is the other person’s life, not mine. Every time I think I have a handle on normal, it is quickly interrupted by chaos, worry, stress or anxiety. Have you ever noticed how fast life can go from ‘normal’ to chaotic?

I’m learning that the reason normal is elusive is because of how I have defined it. I’ve always defined normal as ‘when everything goes smoothly.’ The coffee cup is in its right place in the morning, the car starts without issue, the drive to the office is traffic-free, the greeting at the office is pleasant, work flows throughout the day nicely, the drive home is just as easy, the greeting at home by the kids and spouse are warm and welcoming, and the cat, who normally doesn’t like me, jumps in my lap and stars purring.


Have you ever noticed that kind of ‘normal‘ only happens in fairy tales? I’ve found the issue to be with the way I define normal. I’ve never allowed negative emotion to be a part of my normal. Without negative emotion, life, as we know it, would cease to exist. You can’t have a heartbeat and not experience some degree of negative emotion. Expecting life without chaos or stress or anxiety, at least to some degree, is setting yourself up for failure.

Expecting life without chaos, stress, disappointment or anxiety, at least to some degree, is setting yourself up for failure.

Redefine your normal. Begin to include a dash of chaos, or a moment of breakdown in your normal. Be careful not to define only positive emotion as normal and negative emotion as abnormal. Blend your emotions together to make simply, the way it is. Begin seeing the negative emotion as forming or strengthening, and the positive emotion as rewarding. Begin to accept, as fact, that you can’t live in one without the other. Start to see how each opposite emotion actually compliments the other.

I’ve learned that we have to take the good with the bad, to swallow the hard with the easy. That’s what makes us stronger. You don’t need someone else’s life to be normal, you simply need to redefine your own. Redefine your normal and you will begin living a normal life; your normal.

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