I have never thought of myself as “normal,” nor have I ever truly desired normality. I have often wished that I didn’t have to deal with the foolishness I create in my own life, but I’ve always seen normal as boring and have attempted to blaze my own trail.
As life goes along, we get mired more in more in the mundane. Life moves from the exhilaration and exuberance of youth to the steady plodding of adulthood. Or, to pull a scene from Knight’s Tale:
|William:||Oi sir, what are you doing?|
|Chaucer:||Uh... trudging. You know, trudging?
To trudgethe slow, weary, depressing yet determined walk of a man who has nothing left in life except the impulse to simply soldier on.
|William:||Uhhh... were you robbed?|
|Chaucer:||[laughs] Funny really, yes, but at the same time a huge resounding no. It’s more of an... involuntary vow of poverty... really.|
So... as we get older, we find ourselves trudging. Actually, quite a bit like an involuntary vow of poverty. Not necessarily financial poverty, but poverty nonetheless.
When I ruminate, I often think of things I have read in books (or comics) over the years. These thoughts today brought a couple good ones to mind:
When did we forget our dreams?
The infinite possibilities each day holds should stagger the mind. The sheer number of experiences I could have is uncountable, breathtaking, and I’m sitting here refreshing my inbox. We live trapped in loops, reliving a few days over and over, and we envision only a few paths laid out ahead of us. We see the same things each day, respond the same way, we think the same thoughts, every day a slight variation on the last, every moment smoothly following the gentle curves of societal norms. We act like if we just get through today, tomorrow our dreams will come back to us.
And no, I don’t have all the answers. I don’t know how to jolt myself into seeing what each moment could become. But I do know one thing: The solution doesn’t involve watering down my every little idea and creative impulse for the sake of someday easing my fit into a mold. It doesn’t involve tempering my life to better fit someone’s expectations. It doesn’t involve constantly holding back for fear of shaking things up.
I went to the woods because I wished to live deliberately, to front only the essential facts of life, and see if I could not learn what it had to teach, and not, when I came to die, discover that I had not lived. I did not wish to live what was not life, living is so dear; nor did I wish to practise resignation, unless it was quite necessary. I wanted to live deep and suck out all the marrow of life, to live so sturdily and Spartan-like as to put to rout all that was not life, to cut a broad swath and shave close, to drive life into a corner, and reduce it to its lowest terms, and, if it proved to be mean, why then to get the whole and genuine meanness of it, and publish its meanness to the world; or if it were sublime, to know it by experience, and be able to give a true account of it in my next excursion.
Henry David Thoreau, Walden, “Where I Lived, and What I Lived For”
There are good reasons that we move from fantasy to reality as we get older. But if we dump our personality and our uniqueness along the way, we do ourselves and the world a disservice. At least, it seems that way at times.
There must be a middle ground between forcing Johnny to color inside the lines and allowing Johnny to run around tackling people in the grocery store... a middle ground that doesn’t kill Johnny’s spirit.
The only people for me are the mad ones, the ones who are mad to live, mad to talk, mad to be saved, desirous of everything at the same time, the ones who never yawn or say a commonplace thing, but burn, burn, burn, like fabulous yellow roman candles exploding like spiders across the stars...