At some point in my teen years I had a realization. So I took took that very annoying fellow around the back and shot him in the head. Then I kicked the corpse into a shallow grave and dusted off my hands and said “Good riddance to that.” I shot and killed ‘Normal Tim.’
You might be wondering why I’m casually writing about murder, but in this case I’m referring to part of my personality. Back in your teenage years you might recall that desperate desire to just fit in and be normal. I called that part of myself ‘Normal Tim’ and the bloody annoying prick was just driving me nuts so I had to get rid of him. Hence the summary execution and no funeral.
The realization that lead to this situation was: I was just never going to be normal so I had to stop trying to be normal. It was exhausting work for me and pointless in the end. I’m just too much of a natural non-conformist to play that game. Unlike everyone else around me I never stopped asking “why” like a two year old. Why do people pay so money for clothes with funny ‘logos’ on them? Why can’t someone hang out with both the geeks and cool kids? Why are we doing geometry proofs when someone has obviously already figured out this works? At the time I annoyed more than a few people with my questions and comments.
Now ironically I paid a fair bit of money to do that same thing. I attended a meeting last week where I was asked for my feedback afterward. I replied, “The meeting was a waste of time as process around the meeting has over taken any reason on why you have the meeting.” Then I proceeded to provides a few examples on what the meeting could be used for and oddly enough I saw nodding heads.
People are aware of bullshit around them, but often don’t bother to give themselves permission to see it. So I ask questions to common things like:
- Buy the biggest house you can afford. Why on earth would I do that? I don’t need that much space (even with two kids and a dog).
- Eating healthy costs more. Why? Um, are you shopping in the same stores I am? Cabbage is cheap, so are apples, potatoes and lots of other options like kale. Healthy doesn’t have to equal expensive, or do you not know what ‘in season’ means?
- With the kids you will need two cars. Why!?!? I barely drive the one I already have and my wife works from home. Did all the buses and cabs stop running in the city?
Then there is my personal favorite “But you can’t retire before 45!” Why? I’m not normal, so why shouldn’t my retirement plan assume I’m working until my sixties? Hello, I haven’t had a ‘normal’ life for most of my adult life.
I’m not saying life has always been easy after getting rid of ‘Normal Tim’, but overall I’m a lot happier just being myself rather than who people think I should be. So when do you give up on being ‘normal’?