January 02, 2011

A Return To Normal

The midnight hour is fast approaching and I am wide awake. For months now I have been unable to fall asleep at what most folks would call a decent hour. It is not completely out of character for me as I have always been a night owl. Ask those who knew me in college and they will confirm that it wasn't unusual to find me up and about at all hours.

But that was then and this is now. I can't sleep through my political science classes confident that I will ace the exams. The mornings around here aren't quiet either, there are rug rats running through the halls. Little people who expect me to help them get ready for their day and that is ok with me. I may not be much of a morning person but I don't mind helping them.

These children of mine who insist on disobeying my orders to stop growing are tucked away in their beds, the picture of innocence. Tomorrow they return to school and normalcy shall return to life, or so I pretend. I pretend because I lost track of what that term means, normal.  Or maybe I realized that for decades I defined it as being something that I grew up with and saw on television or in movies. Two parents, a house, school, vacation, soccer practice and so much more.

Now I know that to some extent normal is a myth that is propagated by others. Ok, that is not entirely fair or true. What I really should say is that normal is something that is subjective. We define what that is and we provide the meaning. It is kind of a funny realization because I have this conversation with my children. We talk about what other children/people do and how their lives aren't necessarily weird. We talk about judging people based upon their actions and who they are, not what they appear to be. But that is a separate topic.

So it feels kind of silly to have this epiphany about what it means to be normal or to live a normal life. I can't decide if I am more tolerant or less. Maybe the frustration and anger I feel about some things is coloring my judgment.

What I know is that although I understand that there are things that are outside of my control I still sometimes fight to control them. I can attribute some of that to the things I see around me. When friends die from terminal illnesses you take notice. When contemporaries fight serious illnesses you take notice. It is a reminder that sometimes our grip upon life is tenuous. Sometimes my reaction is to grab on to those things that I can take control of and hold on tightly.

But I don't always do that. Sometimes I am perfectly happy to just let go. I get in the car and let it take me to wherever it chooses. Autopilot is a wonderful thing.

The rain means that the mountains that surround the city are covered in snow. It is very pretty. Sometimes I like to drive other to some of my thinking places and stare out at the world. Some days I stare at those snow covered hills and think of experiences I have had and those I wish to have. Other days I head off to the beach and let the sound of the surf soothe my soul.

Moments like these remind me of how grateful I am for my senses. In many ways I am a very lucky man.

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