Being Happy Being Normal

Being happy is not something that comes naturally to me. Being content is just as difficult.

It should be possible to reach a stable point in life where you say, “Yep, we’ll run like this for a while and be happy to have achieved it”. Most people do that at some point. Most people accept their place and go with the flow.

Ever since graduating, I have had to modify my mindset to try to capture this. Ever since I stopped believing in my own hype, probably about age 21, that, actually, not everything is possible, and that the world is definitely not my oyster, I have had to batter and abuse my mindset to try and set it into a path of Normal.

I remember when I was young I was obsessed with the concept of normal. I think at about age 13 I decided I’d had enough of trying to conform, and I despised the vast majority of the people in my school. I didn’t want to have anything to do with anyone but my tiny amount of friends. I wanted to be different.

The trouble was I was anything but. Being shy and introverted, suddenly launching into outward displays of “look how abnormal I am” just wasn’t me. I liked to think I had a different mentality to others, that I was clever and astute and with wisdom beyond my years; that was what made me different. I clung onto that.

I tried to think I was different because I didn’t care what others thought. That was always my shield. I tried to think that no matter what others thought of me, how geeky or nerdy or weird I was, I would plough on regardless. I would be the winner in the end.

I liked to think that this was all unique to me, but I realise now when I look back that everyone goes through this feeling at some stage. Some point at which they pull one of their own “talents” and turns it into a way of feeling superior.

This attitude stuck with me for a long time. Through college I enjoyed it, and got some surprising kudos for it. I clung onto it during my gap year, kept telling myself that I was better than what I was doing.

Then university arrived, and, being surrounded by both nerds and idiots (yes, they even make it university), my attitude stayed resolute. I was up the grade. I really would use my intelligence, my abnormality, to achieve something. I relished the positivity that I enjoyed from being good at being good.

As time wore on though, and Iwas ground down with a year in London, I started to change my mind. It was briefly halted when I achieved a first class honours degree. That made me again feel pretty special. But it wasn’t to last. Within a month, sitting in utter horror back in my family home, I realised how much of a charade my mentality had been.

The trouble is that, since that day, I have not really been happy. I decided that I really must try and carve out something resembling normal life. Normal life for people is work, family, friends, social time in moderation, then back to work. Repeated endlessly for decades if you’re lucky, then you retire, and then you die.

I have never wanted that. I have always wanted there to be no normal. That every day is another challenge. Every day is another opportunity. Every day is another chance to make progress to being something different to what everyone else is doing.

As such, I am never happy. I continually say to myself that I should just be content with where I am, and accept that I have actually done pretty well to achieve what I want. But I cannot do it. My mind resists. I just can’t be happy.

More on my various neuroses next time…

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