Quite an innocuous word really until you start thinking more deeply about it.
Just what is normal? What determines normal? Who sets the benchmark for normal?
So I’ve been thinking about what is normal for me, since my doctor asked me a couple of weeks ago if sitting around not doing much is normal. I replied “heavens no, I’m normally like the energiser bunny!”
But then again when I think about it, some days just sitting around doing nothing much really is ‘normal’ for me — especially on weekends or on holidays. Then at other times I really do run around like a madwoman, doing several different things at the one time. And probably not doing any of those really well either!
However, if for example I disappeared, and the detectives (like the ones we watch on the telly) started asking my family, friends and colleagues what was normal for me — what would they say.
They wouldn’t say ‘well she always gets up at x o’clock, has a cuppa, reads the paper, goes for a twenty minute walk…’ and so on. To me that would be too organised, too much routine and I rebel against being too regimented.
I recall my mother-in-law always set the table for breakfast before going to bed, which was simply weird to me. Occasionally I will get organised the night before I work, but certainly not all the time. My movements are generally unpredictable, although I’m sure there are some things I always do that are unconsciously done. Whilst I don’t embrace routine, there is a certain comfort in having it.
I’m sure we’ve all tried brushing our teeth with the non-favoured hand and felt really uncomfortable doing it. We’ve done it the same way for so long we don’t even realise how routine it is.
So I guess for most of us there would be some things that could be said to be normal for us, even though we don’t think about them as such.
For those of us who drive a car, we have our own little routines when we get behind the wheel. When asked I’m sure there is a process we follow but just don’t think about.
I remember when Kelly had been admitted to the psychiatric unit for the second time, and we — the family— attempted to tell the Psychiatrist that her behaviour was not normal for her. He dismissed us totally — wasn’t interested in what was normal for her. He was only interested in what he could see, and in reality we as her family were voiceless because she was an adult.
Thats a difficult thing to accept as a mother because for a long time society generally looks to the mother for information. But as our children move on to adulthood, we become unimportant — relegated to the sidelines and our opinion means very little.
So on thinking more about my ‘normal’, I’ve discovered that I probably have a lot of things that could be attributed to me as being ‘normal’.
So what’s your normal?