There’s a social media site called Pinterest where you collect visuals that you like – pics of places, things people and words. Being a word-oriented person those ones with pithy sayings are my favourite.
The great thing about Pinterest is that you can see what others have, and nick it with impunity. Sharing is encouraged and its a celebration of all the lovely stuff that’s out there.
Just over a week ago I repinned a post that said “I sometimes pretend to be normal. But it gets boring. So I go back to being me.”
Now, you’d normally get maybe two or three people repinning it after seeing something on your site, but I was astonished to see the next day that more than 20 people had repinned it! What was it about that group of words that had struck such a chord in people? I guess I have to question my own reasons why I liked it to get to the answer.
There seems to be in our heads a vision of what ‘normal’ is. For me, in terms of work, it’s someone who wears a suit (don’t know why!), is on top of everything all the time and is always immaculately groomed. In my own case no matter what I do I feel like I look more like Pigpen from Peanuts rather than Grace Kelly most of the time.
In terms of family life, normal means being a woman who can juggle it all, all of the time, be a great wife and mother, and manage to work, and do the stuff I love, and have time for everything, and lose weight too. Again, not too successful. I joined a gym at Easter and have just found the pain I’ve been having shows I’ve busted my shoulder so I can’t even do that right.
‘Normal’ is walking the dogs diligently twice a day, never letting their coats get too long, never letting the house get messy, not drinking alcohol, not swearing so much (even if it is in private) not letting the grass get too long in the garden, having a kid who’s balanced and healthy (tick for that one) and so on…
It seems being normal is actually like that game of frogs you see in the amusement arcade, where they pop up here and there and you have to hit them with the mallet to keep them down. Reading back on my list of what ‘normal’ is, I can see how unsustainable, how high maintenance it actually is and how downright unreal it is to expect that of anyone – even myself.
Maybe that’s why so many other people saw that Pinterest post and identified with it. What are we doing to ourselves trying to fit into some vision of life that’s not very realistic.
I guess we’ve got to chill out, relax, and try to get back to some version of ‘normal’ that’s more workable. And you know what? I reckon that if you have friends, a job, a family who love you, then your very personal version of ‘normal’ seems to be working just fine.
Have a great week!