I bumped into a neighbour earlier today as I was walking the dogs up the lane. We were both out enjoying glorious winter afternoon sunshine, that followed a stormy windswept night and a wet, grey, dismal morning.
Of course the weather came into the conversation, along with Christmas and New Year, and the unsettling topsy-turviness of it all.
“Never mind, things will be back to normal in a couple of days,” I said.
“Whatever ‘normal’ is,” remarked Geoff straight-off.
“You’re right, there is no ‘normal’,” I replied to his nodding agreement.
If I’ve really learnt anything during 2013, it’s that – there is no normal anywhere, for anyone. Normal does not exist.
When I think about some of the anxieties and fears that have dominated my adult life, I see they have a common link, a desire to somehow fit in with everyone else, not picture myself as some weird misfit on the edge, but instead to blend in with the crowd.
Finding out that some of my anxieties, or my weird thoughts, are as a result of having OCD, has been a revelation for me. It’s like a licence to be able to say: “Yep, I’m a bit nuts, so what – get over it. I’ve had to!”
And in admitting that – to family, friends and strangers – I’ve realised I’m far from alone in my random thinking, my inner paranoia about things, my fear of “the real me” being unmasked.
People I thought were totally A1, absolutely spot on normal, to conform and aspire to, often respond that they feel a bit like me, full of their own fears, anxieties, neuroses etc. And, you know, there’s absolutely NOTHING WRONG with them for being like that, and there’s absolutely NOTHING WRONG with me for being the way I am. We’re all individuals, sharing some of the same hopes and fears and trying to cut our own path through the maze that’s the world we live in.
The media like to portray news events as things that aren’t normal. They bombard us with images and words making a story, because they judge it to be different. As though, if we could somehow collectively combat and overcome all of these happenings, we’d live in a little utopian “normal” world – where an air-brushed perfect presenter would appear on our TV screens and say: “No news today folks, nothing to worry about, nothing abnormal has happened. Further updates if we discover something out of the ordinary.”
But that’s just it – something out of the ordinary happens all the time. ALL THE TIME. That’s the norm!
I wrote a list of new year resolution’s at the end of last year, hoping it would refocus my then rather depressed state of mind to make 2013 “better, more productive and fulfilling.”
There followed a whole bunch of specific things to do, or not do. Finally, at number 10 was the only one that I really stuck to and agree with: “Don’t beat myself up if I don’t achieve any or all of these. Just overall be happier, more at peace with myself and who I am, my life…..live my own life as I wish.”
I’m not writing a list this year. I have no expectations, apart from I’m sure it won’t be normal!
PS: Christmas dinner and day was lovely – except I overlooked to buy any Christmas pudding (even though I thought I had and it must have been hiding somewhere) so we ate the meringue roulade dessert instead ( the one that I’d bought the ingredients for, but had thrown the recipe out with the newspaper recycling, so had to busk it when I made it). It was all perfick! You see there is no normal, there’s just who YOU are.