“People take different roads seeking fulfillment and happiness. Just because they’re not on your road doesn’t mean they’ve gotten lost.”
― Dalai Lama XIV
There are people that have been labeled misfits, non-conformers, oddballs, or the black sheep of the family. Then there are those that have been labelled as dependable, traditional, ordinary or average. I could go on and on with the words that have used to describe people we see out in our everyday world; Family members. Co-workers. Friends. The neighbor right next door.
People are different. All of us.
I watch in amazement as people all around me carry on with their lives as I feel lost and confused as to what society tells me is normal. What I thought I had to accomplish by a certain age has come full circle in my head and has caused a complete halt in my life. I know there are others like me out there. I know that I am not alone in my thinking.
What is normal? What is not normal? And who gets to decide?
Is normal getting in a vehicle every day and traveling the same path, in the same traffic to a job that has been held for many years? Is it being a dependable employee, clocking in on time and clocking out on time, providing overtime as needed to get the job done?
Or is it waking up without an alarm clock when your body says its had enough sleep? Is it not knowing what your day might hold, that ideas will come to you when they come? Not being ‘on’ from 9 to 5 but rather doing what needs to be done as it needs to be done.
For some normal means taking their lunch at the same time every day and being comfortable in knowing that the required number of breaks will break up their day.
To others the monotony of that type of day kills the passion they have burning deep within.
Normal may be meeting up with friends to watch the game at the local pub and to use this time as an excellent wind down to a stressful week. Getting together with friends they have had for years. Maybe even from their childhood. They will laugh at stories shared about things they have all done together in the past.
Then there are others that have no problem reaching out to strangers in a grocery store. While standing in line to pay for a purchase, a conversation will be initiated on just how the roast they have in their cart will be cooked. What spices? What temperature? Delving deeper into a conversation than the small talk. Some folks are pleasant and will answer the questions. Others are annoyed that they’ve been interrupted from the solitude they were peacefully enjoying.
My view of normal has been shaped by my upbringing and society. I, for one, watch in wonder as people all around me thrive on this normalcy they have built for themselves. They have no desire to switch things up. This is where they excel. And for them, this is their life. But others, well they don’t function this way. They long for change. They seek the unusual. From the outside looking in, I am sure my life looks unbalanced and extreme. I am sure that my desire to seek the unknown sounds ludicrous to those on the outside of my world.
There are days that I long for this normalcy I see all around me. To be comfortable in knowing that things are good just the way they are. But my brain seems to always be on overdrive. Looking at things that most people would dismiss as unexplainable, others like me need to understand why. We need to look deeper for the answers that are not readily available. Seeking to know just why things happen the way that they do. Many like myself, have learned to quiet the endless questions that we have. It was frowned upon in school to be so inquisitive. Why can’t we just take things at face value? Why do we have to drive the people around us crazy with our constant inquiries?
So I ask again, what is normal? And why should it matter to you or me that we are on different paths to reach the same destination? I do believe we are all on our way to the same destination. We all want the same things.
To be happy.
To be fulfilled.
To be accepted.
So whether we put our pants on with our left leg or our right leg first, it shouldn’t matter. Hell, I’m sure some jump into their pants, both feet first! And what about the ones that don’t wear pants? Should we judge their path because it is yet different from yours or mine?
As we all struggle to find our place in this world we live in, why can’t we just accept the fact that each path is different? Normal or off center, the path we seek for ourselves is paved just for us. There is no need to judge if the material your path is made from is different from another’s. Nor is there the need to critique how another’s path has come about.
The fact that we keep moving forward is the important part. That every day we try to make this a better place. In the end, this trip can be a long one if we compare and judge. So maybe we could just walk beside each other, if only for a short time and hold each other up instead of tearing each other down.
Author: Debbie Serafinchon
Debbi Serafinchon is a passionate lover of life. Most of her writing comes from personal experiences that she takes the time to try and understand through her writing. A natural questioner of life, she often tries to fit the pieces of what is happening in her world together through writing. This divorced mom to four older children, finds she now has the time to follow her dreams. She loves to travel, learn and interact with people. Her life is summarized by her favorite quote by Douglas Adams: “I may not have gone where I intended to go, but I think I have ended up where I needed to be.” You can find more of her writing on her website and follow her on Facebook.
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