Adventure and exploration,  Health & wellbeing

Is that normal?

“What makes us normal is knowing that we’re not normal.” ~Haruki Murakami, novelist

Last week, Doug and I spotted a woman dressed in a crazy, colorful costume in a diner where we were eating lunch. Since it was nowhere near Halloween, we wondered why the woman looked so … out-of-the-ordinary. As it turned out, she was en route from a local grade school after portraying a character from a kids’ TV show.

Like everyone else, we’re easily jarred from our perception of what is normal. We expect to see costumes on Halloween, or at special holiday events such as the one shown above in today’s photo. Otherwise, we might wonder why anyone would do anything outside the norm.

When we were kids, we assumed “normal” was everything our parents did. Their normal was what their families, culture, or religion dictated. If we looked at our neighbors and saw they weren’t following the same program, we probably labeled them as odd or eccentric or … abnormal. We were oblivious to the likelihood that the neighbors thought we were weird, too.

So what’s really normal and what isn’t? When you venture out of your usual comfort zones — and meet a variety of other people — you realize that nobody thinks or lives exactly the way you do. ~CL

Top photo: “The Mad Hatter” at an annual holiday shopping event in St. Joseph, MI

Throughout my career, I've worked as a book production editor, travel magazine editor, features writer, and weekly newspaper columnist. My award-winning lifestyles features and essays have appeared in many national magazines and anthologies, including Newsweek, Reader's Digest, The Christian Science Monitor, Writer's Digest, Victoria, Better Homes & Gardens, Bella Grace, and more. My weekly Sunday "Life Lines" column ran for 14 years in The Daily Tribune (Royal Oak, MI) and won a First Place (Local Columns) award from the Michigan Press Association. My essay collection, Writing Home, includes 93 previously published columns and essays focusing on parenthood and family life.

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