What do you consider 'normal?' What kind of people are normal? Do we know?

Canada
July 25, 2007 10:47pm CST
This is a favorite topic of min and I have struggled with it as far back as I can remember. For years I thought normal was people who lived a structured, 9-5 life...went to church...had kids...lived their lives and retired without incidents of the 'bizarre, unusual or unexpected.' Now with that definition in my mind I never felt normal...and still don't. My hubby and I are self-employed, work unstructured hours, do not have children, pursue our spiritual growth without aligning to any organized religion, have a broad-based perspective on life...and do not conform for the sake of conforming. We do not plan to ever retire per say...because we love our work and plan to keep sharing ideas until we run out of steam and leave. Now having said that we are not rebellious...and do our best to live an ethical, responsible life...you know, pay our bills, don't break the law...try to treat others as we'd like to be treated, give back, do volunteer work etc. But 'normal' in the way I defined it...nope can't put myself or hubby under that catagory. So do you have any views on the subject? I'd love to hear them if you'd care to offer them.
10 people like this
15 responses
@Meljep (1668)
• United States
26 Jul 07
Society usually dictates what is "normal" and what is "abnormal". If we were living 2000 years ago the "normal" would probably be considered to be "abherrant" behavior today. According to societies standards in the 21st century you sound very "normal".
• Canada
28 Jul 07
Well...thank you for your comment about being normal. I struggled with that when I was younger. My interests and views on life were viewed as unconventional and I often felt like a round peg in a square hole. At this point in life I am comfortable with who I am and what I believe and that helps a lot in living a life that feels normal for me. In any case I think you are right about how society dictates standards for normal behavior. Different cultures have different views on normalacy. Many things that go on in other countries are hard for North Americans to accept as normal. It is an interesting topic...and your views and others who have contributed have provided interesting viewpoints...thanks.
@oldiebut (859)
• Canada
26 Jul 07
This is a bit funny. My wife and I have been married 20 years, sold out business in 2000 after owning it 20 years, have no children, also pursue own our spiritual growth (she is a new age sort, I am agnostic). We are sort fo semi-retied, able to pursue our interests for pleasure rather than simply profit. Hell we even still smoke pot (but don't drink). Sounds a bit similar eh? Therefore... We are the normal ones! Theyare the weirdos! I think the idea of normal within a North Amercian context was a creation of pop culture. The Ozzie and Harriet was what was on TV but not what was in the real world. Sadly, people seem to get their norms from television more than anything else.
3 people like this
• Canada
28 Jul 07
Your comments response made me smile...thanks for that and your views. It is always refreshing to be in touch with those who are willing to be honest and open about who they are and how they live. I agree with your comment about the seemingly 'normal' world of Ozzie and Harriet. You see many seemingly normal people living reasonably normal lives. Then out of the blue their 'other' lives come to light and you realize they are weird. I'll take the somewhat unconventional people living life on their own terms anyday!
@raijin (10371)
• Philippines
26 Jul 07
I guess normal life for me is, living with problems and learning how to deal with it along the way. Having and meeting new friends, losing and gaining, living and dying. Being wealthy from rags to riches, helping and sharing.. I believe that is what NORMAL life is all about, as all of us do feel and suffer these trials and success in life. It's a cycle, that most of us gets tangled in it with some are lucky enough to cut themselves loose. I can say that I am still half-way from what I am longing to have in my life, I have to work more harder to achieve and attain my dreams in life. I realized the right from the wrong ones, keep the good one's in and flush the bad one's out!;)
• Canada
27 Jul 07
Your comment is the first one I came across and I like your perspective on normalacy. You have obviously put some thought into the topic...and your own life path. Reaching the half-way point of your understanding of what you do and do not want will probably assure that you not only have a normal life but a happy, abundant one as well. Great lead into the discussion. Thanks!
27 Jul 07
I have never felt what I would consider 'normal' since I was young. I have always gone against the grain, not out of being rebellious, but because thats the way I feel. I was the odd one out in school, becoming a veggie 25 years ago at 15 and being hounded for it. I met my partner and 4 months later we decided to have a baby. I never go to bed at a normal time, even though I know I have to be up early. I speak my mind too much and recognise I have slight OCD tendencies. However, when I meet people who go to bed at a normal time, eat dinner at a regular time, go shopping at the weekends and have such a routine in their lifes, I do consider this is what is seen as the norm, but to me this is weird!! I must say your life sounds great:))
2 people like this
• Canada
28 Jul 07
Thank you for your input about my lifestyle. I must admit that at this point it is quite satisfying. Part of the reason I decided to write my life story was to let others know that even though there were many daunting events in my past that it is never too late to create a great life. From the sound of it you developed the courage to live life on your own terms from an early age...and I respect that. My views about those 'regular folks' who live perfectly structured lives do feel a little weird to me too! From what you have shared here it appears that your name ItTakesAllSorts fits with your understanding of yourself and others. Good input...thanks.
1 person likes this
28 Jul 07
Thanks for taking the time to write such a thoughtful response. I enjoyed reading it. Cheers:)
1 person likes this
• Canada
28 Jul 07
Your welcome...having people like you contribute makes being here worthwhile. I'd rather keep in touch with people who stop by...than keep flipping around to as many sites as I can in a day. I am enjoying the connections that come with chatting back and forth...so come again...or I will visit you soon.
• United States
26 Jul 07
I do not consider myself "normal" either I left home at 19yrs old and moved to North Africa from Bonnie Scotland. I did not want a normal structured life. I sure got what I wanted now having had a "been there done that" past. I would not have changed a minute of it as I have had experiences that other people can only dream about. I have acquired the description of being a bit of a character.
2 people like this
• Canada
27 Jul 07
After completing my own life story I now encourage others to do the same. From what I am learning about your from your responses...I ask you...have you ever through about sharing your journey with others by writing your story? From the limited exposure of your sharing here it sounds as though you have contained a "many lives within one." I appreciate your comment about being a character. Unique, eccentric people often are considered that..but they are also fascinating individuals with their own unique style and have learned how to be comfortable with who they are whether others 'get it' or not. Thanks for adding your experiences to the topic.
1 person likes this
@youdontsay (3503)
• United States
26 Jul 07
As we used to say in college back in the old days "Everything is relevant." I used to think "normal" meant "like me". Then as I got older I discovered that there really weren't many people like me. And I never felt "normal" anyway. Normal is defined as "the norm", or everything that falls in the middle of the curve. My personality type is one that is shared by only one percent of the people in the world. So my personality isn't normal. I'm larger than most women, and even some men, so that isn't normal. I have more education than most people in the world, so that isn't normal. And after reading about the world population's income I discover that I am in the wealthy class compared to all people in the world. [I'm certainly not wealthy by U.S. standards, however.] So I guess that's not normal either. I've never really tried hard to be normal, at least not in the past twenty-five years. One of my favorite buttons reads "Why be normal?" Why indeed.
2 people like this
• Canada
28 Jul 07
Thank you for illustrating different examples of normalacy and how you came to terms with not fitting into them. I'd love to obtain one of those buttons. I agree why be normal when being unique and quirky is far more fun!
@lucy02 (5017)
• United States
26 Jul 07
I don't think there is any such thing as "normal". We are all different and that's the way God intended it to be. The world would be a very boring place if we were all what most consider "normal".
2 people like this
• Canada
28 Jul 07
Your view reminds me of something my Mom always said...that people were like snowflakes...no two are ever the same. Yes, with that in mind it makes it difficult to fit people into stereotypical frameworks.
@sunshinecup (7880)
26 Jul 07
I define "normal" as anything that does not hurt others or one’s self. Stay within that, and it's fine to me. For years I struggled to fit in the idea of normal that I based on Leave it to Beaver, LOL, talk about unrealistic! Then finally it just hit me one day, that wasn’t what I considered standard at all, no one does. So food fights in the back yard or howling at the moon, to me is normal. Getting fall down drunk, fist fighting or being a jerk to others, is not.
2 people like this
• Canada
27 Jul 07
I like your view of normal as anything that does not hurt oneself or others. Having 'latitude within your attitude' sounds very honoring and non-judgmental in everyday behavior. However, drawing a line in the sand when other's become abusive...I agree. Not acceptable.
@butterfly39 (3906)
• Philippines
26 Jul 07
People are normal, in a way that he understands, he feels, and know who is God above all. We are humans and we're not perfect...what we wanted to do is to enjoy life to the fullest, not to harm innocent people, and just be ourself...
2 people like this
• Canada
27 Jul 07
Your gentle nature comes through again, and I appreciate your spiritual perspective to the topic of normalacy. I totally agree that often the most normal people are those with the confidence to be themselves...very true.
• United States
27 Jul 07
Bundy was "normal." Dahmer was "normal." Gacy was "normal." Need I say more?
• Canada
28 Jul 07
Well at least they appeared normal...until their very abnormal secret lives came to light. The fact that they could live under a cloak of normalacy for so long before being discovered is the really scarey part to me. Cannot help but wonder how many more seemingly normal people like Bundy, Dahmer and Gacy are out there?
1 person likes this
• United States
28 Jul 07
Exactly. That's why "normal" people worry me more than anything. I have found that over the years that every single person in my life that I have ever been able to trust was a little "odd" in one way or another, lol. ...and there is no denying I'm a oner. hahahaha Anyway, it is those that most perceive to be "normal" that tend to give me the heebie-jeebies.
1 person likes this
• Canada
28 Jul 07
You truly are a gal after my own heart...I've felt those heebie-jeebie things around people who do all the normal things outwardly...but ysssh...there is just something about them that makes the skin crawl and my cr@#p detector start wildly spinning on red alert!. Like you give me a quirky, up-front person any day.
1 person likes this
@DanaMark (807)
• United States
27 Jul 07
I used to think that normal meant what most people are like. Do I go by what 51% of the people are like? Or does it have to be more like 75%? That definition runs into all sorts of problems. I think normal has really changed in the past years. There doesn't seem to be much of a "norm" anymore. People are so different. So I'm going to change my definition. Normal people are people who are like me! I recommend that everyone use that definition. Then we would have no abnormal people in the world! lol.
1 person likes this
@DanaMark (807)
• United States
27 Jul 07
I'm sorry. This seems kind of shallow. But it is too late at night to think deep!
1 person likes this
• Canada
28 Jul 07
Hi again.. What you said doesn't sound shallow to me...I 'get' what you meant. You are right..if everyone perceived each other's similarities rather than our differences everyone would seem normal. Here I am writing my response...and it isn't as clear as I'd like it to be either. So coming on to 24 hours after your post I am in agreement with you...perhaps it is too late to be thinking too deep.LOL
@kelly60 (4548)
• United States
26 Jul 07
There is no such thing as normal, therefore, nobody is really normal.
• Canada
28 Jul 07
Concise and to the point...you view seems be be the prevailing theme of this discussion...and I appreciate it.
@kgwat70 (13392)
• United States
26 Jul 07
I do not believe there is such a thing as normal anymore. Times have changed so much over the years that nobody is normal or have normal jobs or anything else. Everything is constantly changing and it is hard to do the same thing over and over again. I know that I am not normal as I do some silly things from time to time and most of my friends and family are not normal either. LOL
• Canada
28 Jul 07
From what you have added in combination with many others there seems to be a general consusus that there is no hard and fast rule about who and what is normal. As you have pointed out society is changing so rapidly that standards for accepted norms are practically non-existent. Personally, I think the capacity to do silly things keeps life on the light side. Thanks for adding that to the forum.
• Canada
26 Jul 07
In my opinion, Normal does not exist. Everyone has their own definition of normal, and if one does not fit individual definitions of normal, those people are abnormal. No one knows normal, as we are all unique. I'd hate to be called normal.
1 person likes this
• Canada
28 Jul 07
Ahhh, spoken like a true individualist. I agree there certainly is a bell curve within this and any other definition. Uniqueness is far more appealing to me that being viewed as 'normal' like everyone else. I love to meet those who walk to the beat of their own drum...good for you that you do your own thing.
@Willowlady (10665)
• United States
26 Jul 07
Normal is gotten from two extremes. Not sure what is really an extreme, who decides. Who might interpret the data from where? to be normal. Remember perceptions make it different for us all. Good is always good no matter how unpopular it is with society. Bad is always bad no matter how popular it is with society. Only time can tell which is which. Somethings are obvious though not to everyone again perceptions.
1 person likes this
• Canada
28 Jul 07
Your philisophical overview on the subject has provided another way to look at normalacy. Perception plays a large part in how all of us filter things. In Buddhist teachings they present the idea that everything is...as it is. How we judge it does not make it one way or the other because we do not have the larger picture. Interesting addition again Willowlady...thank you.