My life has undergone some very weird changes since I started college way back in September 2009. I made new friends from places I never thought I would have friends from, places that seemed to be built up of stereotypes and old people, and none of my friends are these types of people. If I'm being honest, my friends aren't exactly normal. But then, I don't believe in normal. It was something I strived to be for so long, reaching towards it in recent months, without realising that I was reaching towards a phantasm, an illusion, an idea that held no place in the world in which we live.
There is no such thing as normal.
That said, there is "normal" - the generally accepted standards of society and professionals regarding health, clothing, morals, education, lifestyle and all sorts of things that at this present point in time I cannot care to list. But "normal" does not extend to the individualistic nature of humans, however much we may try press it upon one another, so that the friends I say aren't normal simply cannot be by definition, as the word implies a standard of person and character that is unique to each individual.
Normality is a playground/workplace/Church/cult/sect/pub/pitch (etc.) curse that cannot be escaped at any point in our lives. I have been held back by the idea of normality for far too long.
This post is called Reaching. Those of you who cared to read it will have to forgive me for repeating it. Those of you who skipped over it to see if I was going to give out about social situations again, there you have it. It has multiple significances for me; I used to be reaching for normality, I am currently reaching for meaning, and I will always be reaching towards personal perfection.
Yes, perfection. I do not believe it is achievable, hence the personal before it. Yes, I'm actually going to say this... I want to be the best me I can be.
Shoot me now.
But there you have it. I want to improve on myself. I want the happiness I remember that may not have been true, the sense of oneness I feel at three in the morning after a deep and meaningful conversation, the sense of achievement I don't feel I've ever gotten in that I've never been moderately successful at anything quantitative or qualitative, and I want the unity that comes from friendship with so many people I'm afraid to open up to. I reach towards all this, but I always remember that there is a certain degree of courage lacking in all of this, something that I don't have all the time and never enough of it; unity with others is impossible, on the scale I want, so that I don't keep secrets from people, because no matter how much I care about people and no matter how well I get along with them, my mouth just doesn't say the words my heart is screaming.
The search for meaning, oddly enough, is normal. It is the one thing that is entirely normal by human standards because all humans search for it at some stage in their uninterrupted lives. The problem with searching for meaning is focusing entirely on it, and the paradox of it all is that one must give up the life in which they may find meaning while on their search.
As an interesting aside, the search for meaning is related to the commonly asked question: What is the meaning of life? Douglas Adams was quirky and original enough to give the Ultimate Answer (42) but leave us without the Ultimate Question, itself more complicated than just the aforementioned question. Bestselling author John Green responded to the question, "What is the meaning of life?" by saying quite simply, "Other people." I would like to believe that my life is like that, that my meaning is other people - not in them, not to be gained from them, but them, as people and individuals in all their unique and wonderful weirdness, the way they start stories or the things they expect from others, the way they pronounce certain words, the smiles they give, the waves, the insights into life, the lessons they can teach us without ever meaning to, and the ones they teach on purpose without letting us know we're learning, the love that goes both ways - romantic and otherwise - and the signs that we care about each other and not what others think of us, and the ways in which we become the same yet distinguishable for having known each other, and in the end we feel better for having met.
I reach for my meaning of life and I may have already found it. Everything else is just reaching for something to fill up the days, problems that have to be overcome, adventures to be had and new things to learn for the sake of learning. I cleared my head of a lot of stuff last night in a lengthy email to a friend, and for the first time put down into words what it was that I wanted to do with my writing. Truth be told I'm still figuring myself out as a writer, and while I complain - most of the time jokingly - about being old, I know in my heart that my life has only really just begun, and that with the exception of a few wonderful meanings to life, everything before now was just a prologue to the things I have yet to face, good and bad.
And I hope I have the courage to get through it all without running back home and hiding underneath the covers in the dark, hoping for a phone call to come through to set things right...