Pulitzer Prize-winning author Ellen Goodman said,
Normal is getting dressed in clothes that you buy for work and driving through traffic in a car that you are still paying for -- in order to get to the job you need to pay for the clothes and the car, and the house you leave vacant all day so you can afford to live in it.
Do we really want to go through this normal life? Is life about following all the things everyone else is doing? Is this life even worth living?
We have been conditioned to believe that "normal" means going through the traditional education system, working 9-to-5 jobs, getting married in our 20s, having children when we're young and growing old gradually.
Home-schooling, marrying late, not having children and reverse aging are considered abnormal.
Those who choose an abnormal lifestyle have more interesting experiences and memorable moments.
In this case, abnormal life refers to making morally positive choices (e.g. minimalist lifestyle), not negative ones (e.g. drug addiction).
Perhaps that’s why the top 10 percent of the wealthiest people control 90 percent of the money by consciously making abnormal choices.
Normal days are the least impressionable and memorable. Abnormal days are the unforgettable ones that stay in our memory bank for decades.
Think about it: Childhood was considered amazing because almost every day was abnormal; we learned something new and tried something different regularly. But as we grew older, we had fewer new experiences, reduced regular learning and became less flexible to sudden changes.
When people meet up today, more than 50 percent of the time is spent talking about frustrations, issues, rejections, problems and suffering.
The time spent talking about dreams, goals, hope, love, passions, travels and living it up are few and far between.
As we progress through life, the frequencies between old friends can grow further, especially when a positive person is surrounded by a stagnant comfort zone.
The ancestors whose legacies are still known today deviated from the previous norms. John Rockefeller’s entrepreneurial spirit made him the wealthiest man in history and the first known billionaire.
William Shakespeare wrote plays that did not conform to the 16th century. Gabrielle "Coco" Chanel created male-inspired styles during a time when women were supposed to look feminine and ladylike.
Society created the cookie-cutter mold for people via the Industrial Age, education and employment system. They put us into a box and then asked us to think outside of the box.
In our generation, Chris Guillebeau traveled 193 countries before turning 35, Tippi Degré spent her childhood in Namibia among wild animals and tribespeople, and Timothy Ferriss has four-hour workweeks and regular mini-retirements. Many average people are now living extraordinary lifestyles.
It was once suggested that abnormal means ab(ove)normal, but this is not referring to superiority of the human race or higher intelligence.
It refers to how we can raise above the normality of stereotypical life towards the self-actualization process via the road less traveled.
It means we are consciously aware of the choices we make and the life we are creating, instead of following the crowd blindly and doing what everyone else is doing.
The first time others described me as weird was by kindergarten classmates. I did not understand the meaning and asked my mum what weird meant. Since then, I heard it over a hundred times throughout childhood and adolescence.
From my 20s onward, I have elevated from being numb to the description to loving it as a compliment. In fact, I prefer compliments pertaining to my weirdness to anything that has to do with physical appearance.
Sometimes, I resonate with Tim Burton:
I have a problem when people say something’s real or not real, or normal or abnormal. The meaning of those words for me is very personal and subjective. I’ve always been confused and never had a clear-cut understanding of the meaning of those kinds of words.
We have different standards along the spectrum of normal to abnormal; what is normal to one person may be abnormal to another.
So, maybe it's time to ask yourself, why be boring when you can be fun and interesting?
Photo Courtesy: Tumblr