The other day I was having an intense conversation with a friend of mine about my life. It was supposed to be an intervention. He couldn’t understand why I was “slacking off” instead of trying to make money. I told him I had quit my job to follow my dreams but it so happened that my grandmother needed me more (She has dementia & needs someone to always be around or she gets violent). He didn’t seem to think that being a care taker was a full time job. A job is not a job unless you get paid for it. He looked at me as if I were diseased when I told him I had decided to take time off to volunteer instead of get a job. He thought that I took career and stability too lightly.
What can I say? I’m 23 and want to travel and volunteer. It’s why I will go to Tanzania for 6 months. Work with the Masai tribes, with young women and children with HIV. I would rather do this than think of marriage or making money. I don’t mind getting my hand dirty or living like a “poor person” as he put it. I have before and I can live without these “necessities” which are actually white boy luxuries according to me. I don’t have dependents. My parents and family are set. He thought I was being to selfish for thinking only of my self. He told me I was strange – a real weirdo.
That got me thinking. What is normal? Here’s my top 33 list.
1. Indulging in activities that makes you forget your true identity and the dreams you once had. Working to make money and then more money and then more money. Never knowing when enough is enough.
2. Spending years and years in a prestigious educational institution and then not being able to find a job.
3. Working 8-12 hours, sometimes more, a day in a job that doesn’t excite or motivate you so that you can enjoy life 35 years later- after retirement.
4. Retiring and then discovering that you have no more energy to enjoy life.
5. Trying to be financially successful instead of seeking happiness – laughter, companionship and purpose.
6. Plastic surgery, Botox, Liposuction.
7. Ridiculing those who seek happiness instead of money by calling them “people with no ambition”.
8. Defining life according to cars owned, size of house, number of beers downed.
9. Not smiling and talking to strangers. Ignoring them even if they’re in need.
10. Getting married, having children/ being in a relationship and staying together even though the love has gone, claiming that it’s for the sake of the children
11. Waking up to an alarm clock
12. Believing everything everyone tells you instead of forming your own opinion.
13. Criticizing everybody who tries to be different.
14. Never saying how you really feel, never asking direct questions even though the other person understands what you’re to say. They then spend the rest of the day convincing themselves that they are being delusional – wishful thinkers.
15. Keeping a smile on your face when you really want to cry. And feeling sorry for those who show their true emotions.
16. Paying fortunes to buy random brush strokes on a canvas but thinking art is a worthless subject/hobby/passion
17. Never enjoying what is easily gained because it was “too easy” and the “necessary sacrifice and hardwork” was missing.
18. Following fashion trends even tough it looks ridiculous, is unpractical and uncomfortable most days.
19. Being convinced that famous people are happy and have tonnes of money.
20. Using all possible means to show that even though you are a normal person, you are infinitely superior to other human beings.
21. Never laughing out loud in public no matter how hilarious the story is.
22. When in an elevator, looking straight at the door and pretending you are the only person inside, however crowded it may be.
23. Thinking older is wiser, even though you do not have enough life experience to really know what is wrong.
24. Decorating the Christmas tree with cotton in the tropical countries, even though winter has nothing to do with the birth of baby Jesus.
25. Going to a charity event and thinking that it is enough to put an end to all the social inequalities in the world.
26. Always saying “I tried”, even though you haven’t tried at all.
27. Putting off doing the most interesting things in life until you no longer have the strength to do them.
28. Avoiding confronting yourself about your depression with massive daily doses of television programs.
29. Thinking that women don’t like football and that men don’t like interior decoration.
30. Blaming the government for everything bad that happens.
31. Being convinced that being a good, decent and respectful person means that the others will find you weak, vulnerable and easy to manipulate.
32. Being convinced that aggressiveness and discourtesy in treating others are signs of a powerful personality.
33. Thinking that your religion is the sole proprietor of the absolute truth, the most important, the best, and that the other human beings in this immense planet who believe in any other manifestation of God are condemned to the fires of hell.
I’m curious to know what is on your “inventory of normality”. I’d love to hear from you.