Sometimes conversations have the strangest effect on me. I was briefly speaking with a friend as we watched my insane toddler play with the dogs’ water bowl (empty, of course, because he’d already spilled it all over himself) and in catching up on what we each knew about people we’d grown up with, we randomly commented on how bizarre the average perception of “a normal life” is.
I suppose I should preface this with an explanation about how neither of us are normal people, nor were we ever in high school. We were the outcasts (if there can be outcasts at a Christian school – and yes, there can be) only popular amongst a few select groups, one of which was the theater department. Ah yes, you’re all thinking, those people. But I see no point in prefacing my blog with such an explanation, so I shall continue.
The normal life. We all grow up wanting it. Sure we dream of being an astronaut or a ballerina or even of being a politician, but we all have this idea that a normal life includes a spouse, a bought and paid for house with a nice yard and a well-kept up fence around it so the 2.5 children we’ve produced can safely play out of reach of the rest of the world.
That’s the idea. With it comes dreams of the perfect wedding, the perfect marriage, the perfect childbirth experience, etc. We may see our friends get married, struggle with their relationship, have a complicated pregnancy, etc, but we always assume that our own lives with remain, for lack of a better term, normal.
Where do we get this idea of what is normal and what isn’t? It should be from experience. We should look to our parents and other relatives. To our friends. To our siblings. To our friends parents even. But instead, all perception usually leads back to one source: media.
The media tells us how we should feel in a relationship, what each person’s role in that relationship is, how childbirth should be, and how each step in our personal relationships will play out. That seems broad as I type it, but I really don’t feel like going into more detail. The point is that we allow the media to tell us what is okay. And even though the average age for women having their first baby is now late 20’s and early 30’s (pretty sure I read that recently, but I haven’t done any solid research on this so don’t quote me) I still felt terrified knowing that I was quickly approaching my 30th birthday and was a) not married and b) had no children. I obviously had a factory defect of some kind.
As a writer, I spin stories all the time of the not so normal lives. And really, very few lives are normal. And none of them should have to conform to a standard. Why do we do this to ourselves? We put so much unnecessary pressure to fit a mold that we were not born to fit.
There’s really not much of a point in this blog. I’m not driving toward any particular resolution. Other to say that I’m pretty grateful for movies and books such as “He’s Just Not That Into You” encouraging people to stop seeking after this perception of normal. What’s the fun in normal? I write stories about the abnormal. I don’t want to lead a normal life. And I wish people didn’t feel so confined to that perception.
Once again, I must remind you that this is called “Ramblings” for a specific reason. I don’t want to have to make my ideas flow on here. You want a consistent blog? This is what you get. Be grateful.