Saturday, February 13, 2010

Normal is Never


This week Dallas broke the record for amount of snow-fall in a twenty-four hour period- twelve and half inches. Not much for our friends up north, but considering that our normal amount of yearly snow is two inches, it's notable.

My children were amazed. I was less so. Not because of the snow, but because life is always breaking some record, as far as I am concerned.

Maybe not so much breaking the record, as never settling down to normal, whatever that is. You know how it is. We constantly say, "As soon as_________, things can get back to normal around here." Pick anything to insert. The holidays are over. Someone gets well from a sickness. Your husband get home from out of town. You get packed for the trip. You get back from the trip. You get unpacked and recover from the trip. You meet your deadline. You catch up on laundry or housework. You get organized. You get through the current crisis. The kids get back in school. Whatever.

But here's the thing I've noticed. It never happens. "Normal" never happens to me, or to most people I know. It's a fleeting mirage we are always chasing or expecting, and never quite reaching. The dictionary definition of normal is "conforming with an accepted standard." But maybe it should be, "conforming with an EXPECTED standard." Expected by whom? By ourselves. It's in our head, this state of myth called normal.

What do you think of as normal? No crisis? No sickness? No death? All work completed by the end of the day? Nothing breaking down? No one freaking out? Plenty of money for everything? Are you crazy? You've just described heaven, not life. Life is always something ABnormal going on.

Whether it's twelve and half inches of snow in Dallas, or something else, life is not going to give you what you expect. Or what you think you want, or that picture you have in your mind of normal.

Gradually coming to realize this has definitely influenced my life choices. If life is going to throw me one snowball after another anyway, why not just go out and join the snowball fight? Yes, I'm going to get cold and wet, but it will be more fun than getting cold and wet while expecting to stay warm and dry.

So, I've finally accepted it. I'm not normal and neither is my life. So I might as well go off to Africa or something. I'm fairly certain there won't be any snow there.

But you never know.

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