What is “Normal”?

normal adj \ˈnȯr-məl\

  1. according with, constituting, or not deviating from a norm, rule, or principle
  2. conforming to the standard or the common type; usual; not abnormal; regular; natural
  3. of natural occurrence

Someone recently told me they “just want things to get back to normal.” This leads to a question that troubles me somewhat; what is normal? Perhaps when it comes to mathematics and the sciences we are able to measure some sense of constant normality based upon the average of many tests and trials. In human life, however, I tend to believe that “normal” for one may differ quite extremely from that which another might regard to be “normal”. For, in the case of humanity, the average does not set a standard at all because of the absence of any consistency whatsoever in the points making up that average. So, when speaking of our life on this earth, what does one mean when they say they “just want things to get back to normal”? There are many possibilities. I have narrowed the scope to 2 of the more reasonable ones:

  1. The most obvious potential is to say that “normal” represents things exactly as they were before the event that brought about change; yet, I am sure that is not the desire. As best I can recall, that form of “normal” lacks much to be desired.
  2. Perhaps then, “normal” consists of the good elements of how things were (secure, comfortable, constant, understood) without the lesser conditions of that existence (loneliness, emptiness, complacency). If so, the truth is that “normal” is anything but a representation of history. The more I think about it, it seems that “normal” is a more familiar way of saying “the life that I have always hoped for”.

This being said, I do not have the ability to get back to a form of “normal” which has never existed, but I can and will strive for the “normal” that dreams are made of.

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