For the last few years I’ve been trying to think of what a ‘normal’ life is. What that is even supposed to mean, if anything. For the first part of my life I’m not sure I gave it any thought. Most of those years were being acted upon rather than taking action myself.
I most often think of ‘normal’ when it comes to a routine. Wake up. Brush teeth. Shower. Breakfast. Work. Etc. For several years that was life. For many people that is life. Even supposed milestones didn’t feel not normal.
The first shock of a new ‘normal’ was when Flower and I got married. I had always expected that I would get married, have kids, etc. I just expected that I would be 26 for a while, then wake up one day in my mid-forties, married with two kids. I didn’t expect to actually have to go through any of it. This was an interesting adjustment in itself because nothing changed. We had already been living together for several years. Already had plenty of ‘joint’ stuff. I often (and still do) describe the new state as “Everything has changed. Nothing is different.”
Fast forward to 2016, when The Peanut was born. Everyone will tell you how a child changes everything. How suddenly your life takes a different focus. And it’s all true. Everything changes. Your life suddenly takes a different focus. Even if you’re not the one literally having the kid it still has to be one of the most jarring experiences ever, right?
Not for me, apparently.
As I looked down at at that swaddled bundle in my arms I was hit with an overpowering feeling that this was the absolute most normal thing I had ever done. Everything had changed. My life suddenly had a different focus. And yet there was nothing strange about it. It was the same most recently when Finn the Human was born. Now there were two. And that had always been normal.
The Cheese Puff and I have often remarked that, at least for the two of us, it takes about three days for things to ‘have always been that way.’ This was definitely true at basic and OTS. By the end of the second day ‘this was life. This is the way it has always been.’ Very useful when adapting to a new climate. But if the goal posts are ever moving, can you ever sustain ‘normal’?
The reality? ‘Normal’ is ever changing. And striving to sustain that ‘normal’ is exactly that: striving. The endless task of trying to lock down something that is where people get lost. The endless frustration of never knowing what’s next.
But who wants to know what’s next? As a famous doctor once said: ‘Spoilers!’
But when the time comes, will ‘normal’ even matter?