Living each day much muchier
Most people. Some people. A lot of people …
Bloggers like to summarise the world and then write about the exception. It’s easy. We all do it. I do it regularly. I did it just then.
We like to tell the story of exceptions to society and push to normalise them.
The long time singleton, the traveler, the fat girl, the fit girl, the dreamy poet and the motivational philosopher all want to feel like their choices are valid, every bit as much as the choices by which most people’s lives are defined. We want to know that we are not alone.
However, it’s a flight of lazy imagination to believe most other people follow the same life template.
When you look around, there are definite trends. Statistically speaking, most people’s lives do look the same. There is and always will be a normal and the greater majority fit the bell curve because that’s what normal means.
Maybe I prefer the company of misfits, but I don’t know anyone who thinks of themselves as normal. Even if their lives do roughly fit the macro bell-curve, it’s natural to want to define ourselves as individuals. Aside from fits of melancholy, who personally identifies as faceless or being of generic mass mindset? (You could argue that ‘normal’ people aren’t compelled to think about this at all because it takes the friction of being different to notice what’s normal.)
There is a collective mindset. We feel it. We feel its pressure and see it in public media. We most acutely feel the ways in which we don’t fit. However, it doesn’t mean we can assume most people have a passive, thoughtless subscription to it. The moment you drill down into someone’s individuality and their choices in life, the picture looks very different.
That privileged, middle class, suburban, white family with an SUV and 2.5 kids – maybe the mother is the provider and the dad is the primary carer. Maybe they fought their way out of poverty. Maybe they were bullied as kids and still are as adults. Maybe they sought asylum and their happiness is an incredible victory. Maybe they hate each other and their happiness is a thin, social veneer. You don’t know.
Maybe they had normal childhoods and a standard education that landed them reasonable jobs. Maybe they had a range of dating experiences before falling in love and had a traditional wedding. Maybe they bought a mid-priced home that suited their plans for family life and kids came along in subsequent years, pretty much according to plan.
They didn’t passively subscribe to that life because it was easy and in front of them. More likely, their life is incredibly rich and fulfilling in ways you don’t understand because you aren’t them.
I guess my point is that we don’t have to wash over everyone else’s choices in order to justify our own. We don’t have to belong to a special, outsiders club to assign value to our lifestyles. We don’t have to grandstand exceptions to the norm as the life people would probably prefer if only they’d thought about it or been a bit braver. To do so is judgement in reverse.
If life worked out differently for you or your heart calls you to live a certain way, your rich and fulfilling path is to buck the trend. To do anything else would resign you to a life that doesn’t fit who you are. However, you aren’t living life more or less than others. There’s no such thing.
To live more is simply to live to your potential and fulfillment.
That fulfillment looks a little bit different for most and a lot different for some…
“Most people are other people. Their thoughts are someone else’s opinions, their lives a mimicry, their passions a quotation.”
“Atticus, he was real nice.”
“Most people are, Scout, when you finally see them.”
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