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Living Simple: In Search Of The New Normal

Updated on December 24, 2012

I was thinking of some of the crazy stuff I have done during my life and trust me, when you add alcohol to an already off-center human being, you can toss out the book about established behavior. I had a friend during my drinking days who used to watch me doing one of my bizarre stunts and he would always say, “Bill, that just isn’t normal.” I laugh now but in retrospect he probably had a good point.

That got me thinking about what is normal behavior? Webster defines normal as: conforming to a type, standard, or regular pattern.

http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/normal

Of course there is a problem when relating that definition to civilization because a standard pattern can mean so many different things depending on where you live or which culture you happen to be living in at any given time. Now I guess this wouldn’t be worth mentioning except it occurs to me that quite a few people alter their lives and behavior in an attempt to be normal, to act according to the norm. One only has to walk the halls of a high school in the United States to understand this point.

This woman is my kind of normal
This woman is my kind of normal | Source
Are these people normal?
Are these people normal? | Source
Walking through Olympia looking for normal.
Walking through Olympia looking for normal. | Source
This would be normal for some; it was for Thoreau!
This would be normal for some; it was for Thoreau! | Source

THE SCHOOL SCENE

There are those in any school in the United States who seem to dictate what normal is; once that standard has been established then the ramifications of not being normal can be significant. A student who is bored with the education system and does very little work is considered abnormal; the student who has a great interest in the Arts may not care what the square root of 156 is and thus may be considered abnormal

The majority of students see the high level of cell phone ownership and believe it just isn’t normal unless they have one by age fourteen and heaven forbid a student not wear acceptable clothing while at school. That student will soon find out that to be different is definitely not normal.

While I was a teacher I have seen kids chastised, harassed and vilified for not being normal, for not meeting some pre-determined standard of proper behavior or dress.

OUR COUNTRY

What is normal in our country? Is the redneck cracker in Georgia normal? How about the farmer in North Dakota, is he normal? I watch the Yuppies jogging by daily; are they normal in their spandex and jogging cap? Is the socialite in New York City normal or is the rancher in Wyoming? How about the Los Angeles native who sits on a car-clogged freeway each morning? Is that normal behavior?

Is it normal to buy three double-shot lattes each day while preaching to your children the negative effect of drugs or is it normal to complain about the high price of gasoline while driving a Lincoln Navigator?

Show me an older woman with her natural hair color and no make-up and I will tell you she is infinitely more beautiful than the one who is intimately familiar with plastic surgery and expensive eye shadow, and yet millions of women spend millions of dollars trying to manufacture beautiful. Is that normal?

RELIGION

I grew up in a Catholic home but lived in a Protestant neighborhood. We were looked upon as definitely not normal and my parents in turn thought Jews were about as abnormal as it was possible to be. Is it normal to face the East while praying on a prayer rug or is it normal to eat the body and blood of a martyred preacher?

http://billybuc.hubpages.com/hub/I-Am-A-Catholic-School-Surivior

I was not circumcised when I was young and you better believe while taking showers after sports in high school that was not considered normal. I have always felt closer to God on Mt. Rainier than in a church; is that normal?

RELATIONSHIPS

There are many cultures where marriage is allowed as soon as a young girl becomes a woman, usually around the age of thirteen or fourteen. Is that normal? My mother married her first husband when she was seventeen and her mother when she was fifteen. Can you imagine what the Normal Police would think of that today?

I have personally known people who married their first cousins and you can bet that isn’t looked upon as normal. Hell, being married in Las Vegas by Elvis probably pushes the standards of normalcy in the eyes of most people, so being married to your cousin by somebody who got his minister’s diploma online might indeed be considered acceptable behavior.

And whoa, Nellie, how about those who would have more than one wife or husband at the same time; that may be considered normal within that religious sect but you can bet a great many in our society don’t think so.

Now that I think about it, a Catholic priest is not supposed to have sex. Can you imagine anything less normal than that?

http://billybuc.hubpages.com/hub/How-I-Would-Change-The-Catholic-Church-If-I-Was-Pope

WHO DETERMINES NORMAL?

An interesting question for sure! Who are these people who decide what is acceptable behavior and what is not? What I have always found amusing is that normal behavior is a perception molded over time by the consensus of those in a particular culture, all of whom in one way or another are abnormal.

Think about that point for a moment. Let’s take a look at schools for a second to further discuss this point. Normal behavior for the “in” crowd is determined by what that crowd considers to be the proper way to act in school, but each one of them is in one way or another not normal. Teens who are overweight will certainly hear about it from those who are starving themselves because the models on television present an image of what normal truly is. Those who are shy and rarely partake in after-school gossip sessions are considered weird by those who are so imperfectly insecure that the only way they can feel good about themselves is to point out the differences in others. Come to think of it, that particular point applies to adults as well.

Do the Madison Avenue brain trusts determine what normal is? We are bombarded by advertising from the moment we wake up until the time we go to bed; is it those advertising gurus who determine normal in today’s society? Heaven help us all if that is the case and yet obviously in many cases that is, in fact, the case.

I am planning on buying a farm and making it an educational farm and I am sixty-three years old. I had someone write to me and say that just wasn’t normal thinking. Should I just scrap my plans now that I know I haven’t lived according to what is deemed normal?

http://billybuc.hubpages.com/hub/My-Dream-The-Self-Sustaining-Educational-Eco-Farm

A Moment With Bill - Simplicity

SOME FINAL THOUGHTS ON NORMALCY

These final thoughts are all mine so feel free to shoot the messenger. I believe, as long as you are not causing harm to another living being, that normal is who you are and what you do! I do not have to understand or agree with that redneck cracker in Georgia nor do I have to understand or agree with the Madison Avenue types who tell me that I am sorely lacking if I don’t own a certain shirt or wear a certain cologne.

The middle school student who is bored with school and wears bib overalls is every bit as normal as the doctor’s daughter who wears designer clothes and gets straight A’s. In fact, when I was teaching I could associate much easier with the former rather than the latter.

The feelings of inferiority that I saw run rampant in school and which you can witness any day on the streets is because those people are feeling they are less than the established norm and it is just plain wrong. To those of you who feel you need to keep up with the Jones’s to establish your self-worth, keep this in mind: chances are the Jones’s are not special in any way, shape or form. My dad used to say that all people put their pants on one leg at a time, just like we did and in his own interesting way he was right on!

It should come as no surprise that I have always gravitated towards those out there who were considered strange and abnormal. Hell, the woman I love dances in the rain and cries when she sees a dead deer in the road. Is she normal? If you say she isn’t then I hope to one day get a chance to sit down with you and discuss your shortcomings.

http://billybuc.hubpages.com/hub/The-Woman-I-love

ONE LAST THOUGHT

If you define your existence by what others consider to be normal then I wish you a long life and happiness. I may not spend much time with you but don’t take that personally. It’s just that I like to party down with the freaks and geeks of the world. Those are my kind of people!

2012 Bill Holland (aka billybuc)

Are you normal?

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    • Natashalh profile image

      Natasha 5 years ago from Hawaii

      I totally agree with you. Normal is a made up, consensus idea created by people who don't meet their own definition of normal!

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 5 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Natasha, you must have been sitting on the computer at exactly the moment I posted...that was as quick as I've seen for a comment to pop up? I think I like the way you wrote it in your comment more than the way I wrote it in my hub. Thank you my dear and have a glorious Sunday in your historic town!

    • Crazy Mags profile image

      Crazy Mags 5 years ago

      I think this is my favorite hub that I have read since joining last week. I always struggled to fit in. I was considered weird and eccentric because I was overly emotional, shy and socially inept. I befriended the kids no one liked because I felt so sad that they were rejected. I wore the same clothes over and over but mixed and matched them in different ways to try and fit in because girls would make fun of my "lack" of wardrobe. It was hard. So, I drank. Then, I became an alcoholic because I never learned to love myself or accept myself or even talk to other people without being under the influence. I don't care about being normal anymore. Normal changes depending on who you surround yourself anyway.

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 5 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Mags, I'm glad you are finally understanding what is important in life...just be yourself and surround yourself with people who can accept you for who you are...the rest of the world can work their butts off trying to be normal but I have found it to be a pain in my butt and way too much work. Bless you and continue to walk that new path you are on.

    • profile image

      onlooker 5 years ago

      Funny and interesting, I don't think I'll be shooting you any day soon =)I love your spirit surely society in general have so much to learn from this article. Passing judgements on people, such a sad thing and it just goes on and on. It's the mentality of the people that needs to change. Live and let live!

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 5 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Onlooker, I thank you! One thing I have a lot of is spirit. I love your attitude as well and I thank you for your comment.

    • profile image

      kelleyward 5 years ago

      Liked reading this Hub!Just over the last several years have I been able to care less about what others think about me and remain focused on what I think is most important in life. Thanks for sharing! Shared this one!

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 5 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Kelley, thank you! I do believe this is a lesson that is so very hard for most of us to grasp. Basing our lives on the expectations and judgments of others is a losing proposition any way you look at it. Thanks for sharing your experience, strength and hope.

    • b. Malin profile image

      b. Malin 5 years ago

      What is Normal and who's definition is it anyway...I think the longer we live, the less Judgmental we are...At least I'd like to think that's the way I've become. Very Interesting Hub Billybuc, and the Comments seems to bare that fact. Thanks for sharing.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 5 years ago from Olympia, WA

      My pleasure b. Malin and thank you for stopping by and leaving a comment. The day I meed "normal" I'll let you know.

    • profile image

      KatrineDalMonte 5 years ago

      Hi Billy, what a great reading! I think a lot depends on the way we are brought up. Each of us lives in a different part of this world, surrounded by different people, mentality and culture varies, we are more and more exposed to the media..into our adulthood we carry with us habits we pick up from our parents, family and friends. What's normal and what's not, every person would have their own view on it based on all these influences. But I think as we grow and become independent living beings we are able to make our own choices and decisions. Personally, although I do respect views of others, I do have my own opinions, based on my own life experiences and expectations.

    • Sonya L Morley profile image

      Sonya L Morley 5 years ago from Edinburgh

      I don't know any 'normal' people, I wonder if that says more about me or them... Or is it possible that the only normal people are the ones we don't know yet? Interesting, intersting. Great piece, I enjoyed reading it.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 5 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Sonya, I wouldn't know normal if it slapped me alongside the head and you know what? I think I like it that way. :) Thank you my dear for faithfully following me. If I ever make it to your part of the world I will have many hubbers to meet and share tales with.

    • Natashalh profile image

      Natasha 5 years ago from Hawaii

      Someone actually beat me to the poll, believe it or not. I was the second vote! My comment was pretty fast, though. I just happened to click over to the hub feed right after you published, I guess.

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 5 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Oh Katrine, for sure, respect others always, or at least the views of others. Considering the life I have led it is hard for me to chastise anyone for their beliefs or chosen lifestyle. I just wish that belief was shared by the many rather than the few. Thank you as always for taking the time to leave a meaningful comment.

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 5 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Are you still working at Williamsburg, Natasha, or have you moved on to another restored village somewhere else?

    • FloraBreenRobison profile image

      FloraBreenRobison 5 years ago

      The definition of normal keeps changing. All you need to do is look to have the definitions of mental illness have changed over time in the AMA.

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 5 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Indeed they do Flora. I celebrate my abnormal condition. Thank you once again for taking the time to leave a comment.

    • picklesandrufus profile image

      picklesandrufus 5 years ago from Virginia Beach, Va

      Good hub billy buc! Gives us a lot to think about. I have been called the weird one in my family since I was a teenager. Thank God!

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 5 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Thank God indeed pickles; maybe that's why I like you. :) I now celebrate my weirdness and let the rest of them sort it out for themselves. Thank you for making my day!

    • teaches12345 profile image

      Dianna Mendez 5 years ago

      Congrats on your 100 score today! I have been accused of being "off the wall" my whole life. I guess others call it being creative (is that another word for looney?). Anyways, I enjoyed your hub and had a good chuckle over it. Live life well as your dreams inspire and remember that not everyone marches the same to the beat of the drum. Great hub and voted up.

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 5 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Teaches, thank you! If I had any clue how I hit 100 I would duplicate my actions. :) I'm glad you enjoyed the hub; I have the feeling there are quite a few of us who march to a different drummer and I love the beat.

    • Michele Travis profile image

      Michele Travis 5 years ago from U.S.A. Ohio

      I don't know, like teaches said "not everyone marches to the same beat of the drum". Is anyone normal? Probably not me anyway. Thumbs up!

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 5 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Michele, I love not being normal. :) How boring would it be if we all were similar? People-watching would become terribly boring. Thank you for stopping by once again.

    • EclecticFusion profile image

      Lisa 5 years ago from Tennessee

      Oh, I am so proud to be abnormal! Most of my friends are abnormal, too! Very entertaining read! You hit the nail on the head! Voted awesome, funny, and up! (I hear that normal people don't use so many exclamation marks!!!) =)

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 5 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Lisa, I know for a fact that normal people rarely use the exclamation point! In fact, they don't even know what it is for!!!! Thank you dear for dropping by and sharing a laugh!!!!!!!

    • Ardie profile image

      Sondra 5 years ago from Neverland

      So I noticed that most people who voted in your poll declared being "freaking weird man!" I gotta wonder if this is because 1) we're writers and all writers are off juuuuust a little or if its because 2) the majority of people in this world really ARE weird! Great Hub billybuc! I always love your hidden meanings in your writing.

    • DeborahNeyens profile image

      Deborah Neyens 5 years ago from Iowa

      I pride myself on my weirdness. Normal, whatever that is, is so boring. Thanks for another entertaining hub!

    • BeatsMe profile image

      BeatsMe 5 years ago

      Good points and very interesting. Come to think of it, I think all of us are abnormal just for being human. :)

    • cclitgirl profile image

      Cynthia Sageleaf 5 years ago from Western NC

      I'm not normal. In fact, I'm rather insane. But, then again, it's a reputation I strive to live up to. ;) Nice job as always! Voted up and across.

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 5 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Ardie my dear, I'm guessing it's a little of both. Writers are just a bit off-center by nature, but I do believe the majority of people are beautiful in their weirdness. Thank you for dropping by my friend.

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 5 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Deborah, my pleasure. I only hang with the weird ones; they are so much more interesting.

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 5 years ago from Olympia, WA

      BeatsMe, I couldn't agree more. Being human by definition means being abnormal. I'm grateful for that fact and for you taking the time to comment.

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 5 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Cyndi, that's why I like you. :) We should all take pride in our weirdness and quit being concerned that others will find us weird.

    • Eiddwen profile image

      Eiddwen 5 years ago from Wales

      Oh how inspiring your hubs are to so many;because you are not just getting the message out there in text book rhythm or lack of rhythm actually.

      Oh no you have travelled the road yourself and you and have come out the other end with colours shining bright.

      This is why so many will follow your guiding words.

      Above all Billy carry on dreaming about that farm because I know I am.

      Take care and enjoy your days.

      Eddy.

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 5 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Eddy, your support is humbling for me! You are so much more experienced than I am and it helps greatly having you behind me urging me on and making me shine with your words of praise. The dream of the farm will not go away my friend; it is always hovering just below the surface, my guiding light as I go about each day. Thank you dear one and enjoy your evening.

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