What is normal? The more time I spend reading and listening to others the more I become aware that people are concerned with what is normal. Take my favourite online refuge, the lovehoney forum, some days the entire front page is people asking if they are normal.
When did people become so obsessed with the validation of others? Why do people strive to be normal?
Or do they? On my voyage through life, I come across individuals from many different backgrounds, and one thing I notice is that the youth of the day are different. They are different from their parents, different even from the youth of yesterday.
Irony is the shackles of youth, so went the lyrics to an early mid-nineties song. This simple refrain is so insightful, since the youth are united in their difference, and so in their difference, they are all the same. It comes back to that need to be wanted, to be accepted and to be happy.
In my youth I was different, I wanted to be cool, I had long hair, wore denim, pretended to know all about drug taking and going to all night raves and drinking lager, it got me accepted into the clique I wanted to be in; I was normal.
Only I wasn’t normal, I don’t like jeans, they’re too restraining (oh yes, the irony), I don’t particularly like lager, and I most definitely prefer my hair short. These are my norms, this is normal for me. It is this epiphany that I try to take with me wherever I go, and whomever I am with. I have my normal, they have their normal, and who am I to judge that? Just some bloke.
What I can do though is share what I have learnt. Real happiness lies in being true to yourself, not in trying to satisfy the norms of someone else, but in a spot of introspection, realising what makes you tick, and doing what makes you happy. Once you’re happy with who you are, it becomes easy to relax and accept each other’s differences, and even find joy in the differences between us all.
Be yourself, and let others be themselves.