What’s normal? Thoughts to Ponder – May 11, 2015

 “If you are always trying to be normal
you will never know how amazing you can be.”
Maya Angelou*

“Life can only be understood backward;
but it must be lived forwards.”
Soren Kierkegarrd*

Life is filled with contradictions. Last week I was filled with despair because I felt I did not live up to certain alumnae expectations. Of course, by the time I finished writing my sob-story, the despair was gone. Just putting the words on paper gave my thoughts structure and evaporated anxiety’s power it held when flying around my brain hitting this nerve or that sore spot.

Today’s quotes put that angst and recovery in perspective. I am not and never will be normal, whatever that is. Only by looking back can I understand how amazing graduating college at age 47 was.

I began my life by being born with a full head of bright red hair on Valentine’s Day. That put me in the not-normal category before I had done anything more interesting than burp. Since my mother had brown hair and my father had white/blonde hair the predominant question the rest of my childhood was, “Where did she get that red hair?” The naturally related comment was, “Oh, you have so many freckles!” All this was happening when my goal was to get a tan like normal people. Covering up at the beach when everyone else was stretched out in the sand was misery.

The next thing that not-normal thing that happened was my making the honor roll every year until I quit trying. My parents were children of the Depression. School was not high on many parents’ priority list – food and work were the top issues. My parents did not lack intellectual ability, they just lacked education. So the second question was, “How did she get so smart?” I was proud of being smart, but tired of the insinuations that my parents were dumb. Even I thought they were dumb until I was old enough to look back and saw how much they had accomplished.

I could go on and on, but you get the idea. I was not considered normal by most adults or classmates. How I longed to be like everyone else. I’ll just say that feeling alienated led me to make some “stupid” mistakes that led to gifts like my children, travel, library cards in many locations and unusual experiences.

Now that I’ve reached the mature age of 25 and have four great-grandchildren, the “other blonde” has softened the red in my hair. People are now aware of skin-cancer and the need to cover-up. So I look more normal. Thanks to public information and television shows like “Scorpion” and “Big Bang Theory” about people who have IQs much higher than mine, I’m considered normal, though an usually young great-grandmother.

Now I can look backward and understand that I’ve had an amazing life and have an amazing future to contemplate. What more can I ask of life? I thank Universal Energy for all the experiences that brought me to where I am today, even though they seemed difficult at the time.

And, so it is.

© by Sharon D. Dillon, May 11, 2015

*Both quotes are from “Inspiration, 5-7-15 Defy Ordinary” by Pamela Harper, http://www.pamelaharper.com

Sharon D. Dillon, energywriter@cox.net, http://energywriter.me “Laugh your way to peace, love and joy”

Chesapeake Bay Writers, Erma Bombeck Writers Workshop, Southern Humorists, National Society of Newspaper Columnists

Author of “Twins! Oh no!,” one of 14 stories in The Book of Mom: Reflections of Motherhood with Love, Hope and Faith, published by booksyoucantrust.com. Available in print and e-format at Amazon.com

Thoughts to Ponder

“I am not what has happened to me. I am what I choose to become.”

Carl Jung

Message

Sometimes life can be rough, or even down-right mean. That doesn’t mean we have to reflect those events in our daily life. Seemingly, that is the easy road to travel. This thing has happened to me, so I can never smile/love/trust again. All, or most, of us start down that road when something horrible happens to us.

Luckily, we realize sooner or later that we don’t have to travel that bumpy, pot-hole filled road. We can decide whether we want to keep blowing out our tires or whether we’d rather drive on a road that is smooth with beautiful scenery on both sides. The change is usually slow because we tend to slip off the highway and back onto the bumpy road. Then we have to decide if we want to stay there or focus on getting back on the highway again.

Let me give you an example. Back in the late 1970s I worked in Unemployment Compensation. One day I was assigned to the in-take desk. An angry young man came to apply for benefits. We went through the usual format: name, address, etc., then we arrived at the big question: What are your job skills?

“I know how to kill people.”

Where did you last work. What was your job specialty?

“Artillery The Army didn’t teach me any job skills. They taught me how to kill people.”

So you learned mechanics and physics to figure out your trajectory.

“No, I learned to kill people.”

And so the conversation went for a few minutes. Finally, I wrote on his form, “U.S. Army Artillery, mechanics and math.”

I never saw him again. But even after all these years I think of him often and hope that he was one of the lucky ones who found their way back to “normal” after a horrendous experience. Normal is probably the wrong word to use here. Often normal means beaten up by life and holding on to sanity by a shoestring.

After years of grasping the shoestring, now I try to be grateful for all that happens to me and my loved ones. Sometimes it takes a little while to get back on the gratitude highway, often straddling the two roads for a time, but eventually I get there. I’ve learned that I can change nothing if I’m stuck in a rut. I have to get back to the highway if I want to make changes in my life or help someone else.

Today Martha Beck wrote in her message that it is time to change from paranoia to pronoia, or thinking that all is fine, no matter what life is throwing our way..

Meditation

Creator Spirit,

Thank you for the people who bring sage advice that can make our road a smoother ride. Thank you for giving us the ability to think through all the advice we receive and decide which path will lead us the to the gratitude road. Thank you for giving us the options to travel the bumpy or the smooth road. Thank you that we are alive today, no matter what pot-holes we are facing. Thank you for hope.

And so it is.

© by Sharon Dillon, October 13, 2014

Sharon D. Dillon, energywriter@cox.net and Laugh your way to peace, love and joy at http://energywriter.me

Chesapeake Bay Writers, Erma Bombeck Writers Workshop, Southern Humorists, National Society of Newspaper Columnists

Author of one of 14 stories in The Book of Mom: Reflections of Motherhood with Love, Hope and Faith, published by booksyoucantrust.com. Available in print and e-format at Amazon.com

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