For many years I stressed over being normal.  As a teen-ager, I was often at odds with my parents’ and society’s standards of normal. I spent hours sitting on the front porch wondering if I would ever conform to their standards. I didn’t do anything that was truly outrageous. But, I behaved in a daring manner and possessed what folks called “a stubborn streak”.  Hence, I feared that I’d never be a normal person.

I was in my 40’s when I realized the desire to be normal has its roots in the fear of being different.  I rather liked the idea of being unique and it relieved some of the pressure to be normal.  I was a senior citizen before I fully understood that normal is a figment of my imagination. How liberating it is to I finally grasp the knowledge that that my normal isn’t the same as your normal, your normal isn’t the same as the normal of many of your neighbors and that normal is an imaginary, self limiting concept that keeps folks from doing much of what they really want to do.

Not only is normal a goal unworthy of my pursuit, it’s impossible to attain. Hence, I’m giving up the pursuit of normal and of caring what fear-driven normality seekers think of my behavior. As I become more comfortable in my lack of normality, I’m discovering a sense of fun in teasing those who want me to be normal. Now I intentionally do things that I’m told are not normal.

  • I continue to have hope when others say things are hopeless
  • I focus on today instead of worrying about tomorrow
  • I ignore my comfort zone and publically do things at which I’m not very good
  • I admit my weaknesses and work on them openly
  • I sing and dance in my car – even when other folks are looking at me
  • I state exactly what I want – however, I do try to state it nicely
  • I no longer closely associate with negative people who weigh me down
  • I go after my dreams, even if I’m scared while pursuing them
  • I see the glass half full – not half empty
  • I make mistakes and don’t feel guilty
  • I slow down and savor the current moment
  • I stop trying to prove my point, even when I’m right
  • I do things my way, even if it makes no sense to others
  • I believe that everyday is filled with infinite possibilities
  • I try to live today better than I lived yesterday.

In preparation for this Column, looked up the definition of normal in an on-line dictionary and discovered one that reinforces the wisdom of my decision to stop striving to be normal. That definition is: A state of mind where a brand or individual has no quirks or distinctive features that make them stand out from the crowd.

Boring! Thank God it isn’t me.

Betty Freeman Haines, an author and award winning columnist, lives in Mesquite, NV.  Her books/e-books, Reluctant Hero and Grieving Sucks or Does It, can be ordered from amazon.comShare your thoughts and opinions with her at