I just want things to go back to normal!
How many times have you heard that phrase or even said it yourself?
Maybe you’ve heard it in another way like, “I wish I was normal”, “This is not normal!”, “Hopefully we can return to a new normal!”, or this one “Life was simpler back then!”
Can someone please explain what’s so good about being normal? And why is everyone striving to be it?
After the first big wave of the pandemic, people all over the world agreed they were looking forward to life going back to normal. After every historical event – wars, terrorist attacks, natural disasters, we express this sentiment.
It seems we are so sure we will be happy (or happier) when the world or life returns to the way we knew it – as it was before. It’s like a part of us believes we were better people or at least better off, back then and now we’re not.
And on some level, we know this ‘return’ is impossible. We can never go back. Even if you could recreate circumstances as close as possible to those previously experienced, everything else around us has changed. Our environment, other people, our state of mind, and our attitudes are all different now.
So what has changed between now and then? Everything and nothing. Our perception and belief.
As humans, we tend to gravitate to what we know, what is familiar, and what lives within our comfort zone. It is usually when a life-changing event that we are thrown into a different way of being and are forced to adopt a different way of thinking.
Often having a fixed idea of normal can influence our behaviour without us even realising it. We welcome it and are very protective of the concept.
Campaigns such as ‘Making Green Normal’ work so well in increasing widespread levels of recycling and environmental awareness for exactly this reason – we all want to be normal!
After a major life event, we crave for things to go back to the way they were.
This guarding of what we perceive as normality has led us to become more judgemental – morally and socially, and in some cases has contributed to society being more accepting and somewhat complacent of certain circumstances that are completely unacceptable.
Think poverty, homelessness, racial or any other discrimination, mental illness, and child neglect or abuse to name a few.
What if we were to eliminate the word ‘normal’ from our language altogether? My initial thought is that a huge amount of pressure would be lifted.
We would likely no longer compare ourselves to others, believing we are inferior or less than. We would probably become more accepting of who we are and more compassionate towards our own circumstances and those of others.
Let’s go crazy here for a second. Imagine what we could achieve if we weren’t capping our potential at simply being normal!
Perhaps normal doesn’t exist. It is simply what we have right here. Right now. In this moment. The End.
In the grief space, I often hear people say they miss the person they used to be before they lost their child and it is something I can totally relate to.
This kind of experience changes you on so many levels, that you often don’t even realise the expanse of the changes until years later.
Grief and loss force us to find a new way of being and challenges our thoughts and beliefs around life and everything we thought we knew and were so sure of.
Grief and death teach us more about love and living than anything else can.
We are compelled to take stock of where we are and are forced to open our minds to where we could be.
Nothing about the grief journey feels normal. And yet this is the perfect place for, self-reflection, learning, personal growth and new experiences.
Amidst the chaos and incomprehensible devastation lie precious gems waiting to be uncovered.
Wanting to be normal implies wanting to be like everyone else.
Why would we want to strive to achieve this?
Why would we encourage our kids to be like this?
Stepping outside the box develops imagination, invites creativity, and creates a powerful exciting new energy. Every fresh idea, initiative, or project is about changing the status quo and creating something different and not normal.
Similarly embracing our uniqueness, (our not normalness) and sharing it with others allows us to inspire, uplift, and encourage those around us to do the same.
We are all born with incredible gifts and talents and each one of us brings a different kind of wonderful to the world.
The irony is that it is only in the face of death that we realise this for what it truly is.
And that being normal is completely over-rated… and a lot less memorable.
Dalya xx 💙