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Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Die Normal, Die!

Posted by Tim Stobbs on May 17, 2013

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’?

Comments

15 Responses to “Die Normal, Die!”
  1. Elizabeth says:

    Normal is an illusion. I’ve never actually met someone normal. Remember you are unique . . . just like everybody else : D

  2. M says:

    I agree with Elizabeth. Nature thrives on diversity; why shouldn’t we? Regarding cheap food, I let some lettuce plants go to seed last year. I saved the seed heads and as an experiment, I threw some in my garden this spring. Holy abundance!!! I have enough lettuce growing to feed a small country. And all for free. Living in a rural area, I was always frustrated by travelling short(<5 km) distances efficiently. My stubborn-self biked but I was frequently defeated by hills. So enter a used electric bike. This thing goes!! I feel like Lance Armstrong now but it's my bike that's juiced. Plus, I recharge the battery while I pedal. Again, relatively free. My car now sits idle for short trips.

  3. Sheryl says:

    I created the normal me. I always had a feeling I was/am different, but it was reinforced that I wouldn’t get anywhere if I stayed that way. So I learned how to be “normal”. 2 marriages, 15 years of depression, and a mountain of debt later, normal me finally died.

    The funny part? During the messy part of my last divorce, my ex was in counseling, and his counselor “highly recommended” that I see a psychologist. Too late, normal me was already gone, and I wasn’t going to let her back.

  4. deegee says:

    I have always been an outlier in so many ways.

    I am childfree (don’t have or want kids), god-free (an atheist), job-free (retired at 45, since 2008), and debt-free (since 1998).

    I do look “normal” on the outside which is just fine with me.

  5. Sheryl says:

    At my second job, they give gag gifts for Christmas, the first year I was there, I got a t-shirt that read WARNING: I’M NOT AS NORMAL AS I FIRST APPEAR.

  6. Jon_snow says:

    Deegee, we could be clones! Though I am married and I think you are single?

    But yeah to the kid-free, god-free, job-free (2014 at 42 y.o.) part.

  7. greg says:

    gave up on normal at 20, started going off the deep end at 23 =P

  8. Good on you Tim! Good post.

    Mark

  9. Brian says:

    It took me awhile to come to a similar realization. Being different is not quite as comfortable, but the options are so much more exciting.

  10. deegee says:

    Jon_Snow, I am single but I have a steady ladyfriend.

    BTW I am also cellphone-free, Facebook-free, Blackberry-free, and Twitter-free.

  11. I guess it isn’t very normal to…

    1. Not own a smartphone — people find it strange, even shocking to not be connected to the internet 24/7

    2. Not drink — Don’t like it.

    3. … oh forget it, there’s a whole host of other things I don’t do either.

    But I feel better. I am happier, I feel good, and frankly, being “normal” is overrated if I’m going to die of heart disease, stress, owning a bunch of crap I don’t use and being UNhappy.

  12. I’ve never once conformed to be someone that I’m not. That would be exhausting and when I should be putting all my energy into one thing I’m trying to figure how I should be and act, no thanks. I can see why you tossed Tim. When we worry about what everyone thinks that means we’ve given up on ourselves. I represent myself, take it or leave it.

  13. Michelle says:

    I was the kid in high school that knew everyone from the geeks to the cool kids and they all knew me. I have always considered myself “not normal”. At first, I thought it was bad and that I should conform. I spent my fair share of time trying to do so, it didn’t work. In 2009, normal me disappeared. Now everything is different. In my work, I’m the only single person in an office filled with the married with 2.5 kids. It makes life interesting!

  14. This is another way of saying you have the confidence to think for yourself. Congratulations on doing what 90% of people never do — find your own path and live your own life!

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