What Is “Normal” and What Lies Beyond It?
Life can occur a number of different ways:
- Very grim, lurching from one crisis situation to the next
- A rather tedious monotony or drudgery
- A relative state of OK-ness, with problems fairly manageable and some fun and rewards along the way
One might move between these states as life progresses. Any one of them might be considered normal by those inhabiting it, but for the sake of optimism, let us call the best of these “normal.”
A “normal” level of human functioning then means being able to get along reasonably well in life, able to carry on and get the job done, whatever that might be. Certainly it includes having some sort of social network, satisfaction and sense of accomplishment.
Traumatic Incident Reduction and related techniques are excellent for bringing people back to a normal state in situations where the blows and pressures of life have driven them below a normal state of functioning, using that definition of normal.
Once we are “back to normal”, what more can be achieved?
All lives do not look the same. We know that just by looking around. Some people like having lots of friends and acquaintances while others prefer a smaller group of close friends and a limited number of acquaintances. Some people thrive in high pressure jobs while others choose more tranquil employment.
Of course we tend to feel that our choices are the best ones, at least for us, though we can see other people living lives quite different from our own that still fall within the broad range we can call normal. Normal often seems to mean “getting by”. It’s not too bad. We can stand it. We are not in a crisis. We are doing OK. For today, let us consider what lies beyond.
Have you considered how good life can get? Many of us have contemplated what we would do if an enormous sum of money came our way, how we would use it to set up what we conceive of as an ideal life. As fun as that can be to think about, a brief study of wealthy people shows us that the cliché is true – money does not guarantee happiness.
Human beings generally require:
- Social connection of some kind
- A purpose in life
- Enough challenges, tempered with enough successes, to give life zest.
Are there other requirements you can think of?
Take a moment to imagine life that is rich and fulfilling in each of those realms.
Getting past struggle and drudgery to a more comfortable and enjoyable state might seems as much as anyone could ask of life. In fact, there is more. We can thrive and learn and grow as individuals. Life can feel like a grand adventure, yes, even on a daily basis. This is a state worth working toward.