Not normal

One of the advantages of reaching a certain age is realizing that there's no such thing as normal. I never aspired to be normal, exactly, but normal was my benchmark in life back when I thought there was such a thing. I wanted to be at least a little bit cooler than normal, at least cool enough for girls to pay attention to me. I wanted to be smarter than normal to get good grades, more athletic than normal to win the games, and ultimately wealthier than normal to win in life. I definitely didn't want to be below normal; that would've been terrible.

I've now lived enough to realize the silliness in measuring success against a mythical normal. Measuring personal success against others is bad enough, but measuring personal success against imaginary others is worse. There's just no there there when you go looking for "normal."

Normal for a man? Normal for a hillbilly? Normal for someone with twenty years of schooling? Normal for an American? Normal for a Gen Xer? Who's normal should I have even been looking for?

What about traits that aren't even on a spectrum? Can a person like baseball a normal amount? Can I have a normal fondness for avocados? How about a normal enthusiasm for BBC documentaries?

We're a great big messy bunch, us humans. We only do normal in the ways that are boring. I'm pretty sure I have a normal basal body temperature, inasmuch as I don't seem to be having a massive health problem right here at my keyboard. For all the rest of it, I've discovered it's better to be happy than to be normal, whatever normal is.