Normal is Good – But You Can’t Stay Here Forever

Most of us spend our lives doing pretty much the same thing day after day, to the point that it just becomes routine. And if anything comes along to upset that routine, we tolerate it for the time being … and in the case of fun things like holidays or vacations, we really enjoy it … but in the end, we’re just happy to get back to that routine.

I’ve often wondered why we’re always in such a hurry to get back to normal, especially when “normal” is usually something less than what we would like it to be. That’s not to say we’re unhappy with our everyday life, or at least I hope not. But there’s a difference between being happy and wanting something more.

No matter how well things are going, there are things we’d all like to make a little better – a relationship we’d like to improve, a new skill we want to learn, a stronger family, a newer car, whatever. The day we stop wanting these things is the day we stop trying. And when we stop trying, we begin to lose what we had.

Throughout life, we’re constantly moving. Nobody wants to stagnate. And thankfully, that’s just not possible, even in nature. When a body of water isn’t moving, we say it’s stagnant. But the truth is, it’s just sitting there getting more repulsive by the day. Moss and bacteria continue to grow, the smell gets worse, until one day it becomes so consumed with the slime that it ceases to exist.

We’re pretty much the same. Every day, we’re changing. We face new challenges, we adapt to new situations, we tackle new opportunities. Avoiding those changes doesn’t mean we cease to grow. It just means we grow in the wrong direction. We start backsliding until we hit a point of critical mass, where we either have to start moving forward or just cease to exist.

That doesn’t mean we die. It just means we stop living. There’s a huge difference. Because to live is to grow and thrive, to face those challenges and tackle new opportunities. And, because we’re not insects, there has to be an element of happiness along the way. But happiness alone doesn’t mean we’re growing. It just means we’re enjoying that temporary situation in which we live today.

Notice I said temporary – because no matter where you are in life, it’s never permanent. You can enjoy it or lament it today, but tomorrow it will change. The change may not be anything dramatic. In fact, you may not even notice it on a day to day basis. But, over time, it will become more and more distinct.

Hopefully most of those changes are for the better. I’ve seen people go both ways. And, after a while, that becomes their new “normal.” Not only the situation, but the general trend. Newton taught us that a body in motion tends to remain in motion. And we’re no different. If we start sliding backward, we generally continue in that direction until something changes.

That’s why it’s important to be continually moving forward. It’s okay to enjoy “normal” as long as we don’t hang around too long. Sooner or later, we’ll wear out our welcome and be forced to move again. And here’s the thing – it’s just as easy (and likely) to move back as it is to move forward. And vice-versa.

If we never allow ourselves to come to a complete standstill, odds are we’ll keep moving in the same direction. So, make sure you’re moving forward. Enjoy what you’ve worked for, make the most of your current situation, and do your best to be happy. But don’t let that sense of contentment trick you into thinking you’ve reached the ultimate destination. It’s still out there, waiting to be found.

Change is inevitable, and as long as we continue to draw air into our lungs, we’re never really sitting still. Make sure you’re moving in the direction you want and, if not, don’t just hit the brakes. Do a Hollywood-style screeching tire turnaround and start moving the other way.

Normal may feel comfortable. It may even fool us into a sense of complete satisfaction. But unless we’re willing to step beyond normal, we’ll never know how much better things can be.

That’s all for now. Have an awesome day!

© 2019 Dave Glardon – All rights reserved

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