By Andrew Kim
Many people desire to be normal. Although society preaches the value of individuality, the reality is that most people still want to be normal. The dictionary defines normal as, “conforming to a standard; usual, typical, or expected.” (Oxford Dictionary). But normalcy is severely overrated. Being “normal” is almost like confining oneself into a cage. Additionally, normalcy is not an attainable standard, as it is something that shifts with time. Normal is not something people should strive for; it’s something we should actively avoid.
When one attempts to be normal, they essentially put themselves in a prison that does not allow them to be truly free. When one strives to be normal, they become overly concerned with what they should or shouldn’t do, instead of living life to the fullest. The definition of normalcy by society is also constantly changing, so people who try to act normal constantly have to change as well, whereas people who are consistently true to themselves can stay that way. For example, a hundred years ago, racism was very prevalent in the U.S., but now, it is much more frowned upon. Because racism was so normalized and future generations didn’t question the ethics of it, it became very difficult to collectively eradicate: even now, the residual effects still persist today.
Not only is the pretense of “normalcy” potentially detrimental to society, it is also virtually unattainable. Everybody has something that makes them unique, whether that be physical (like birthmarks) or personality related (like quirkiness or weird tastes). Because we all have different experiences of life, everyone has their own unique set of attributes, which is what makes us individuals. Because of this, normalcy is almost impossible to accomplish, unless we suppress our true nature, which prevents us from being happy. For example, a person may prefer Star Wars sequels over the prequels, but because it is against the norm, they try to pretend that they like the prequels better. This kind of behavior, although seemingly innocuous, leads to an unhealthy mindset: focused on conforming or fitting in rather than thinking for yourself, which can lead to larger issues within society. Not only will one be unhappy conforming–they will also lose their sense of self.
In conclusion, normalcy is overrated. The concept of normalcy is almost oppressive, influencing what people should and should not do, exhausting them in the process instead of allowing them to be their true selves. In addition, “normalcy” is simply a social construct that is constantly changing and evolving, making it unattainable. People should embrace their individuality and speak up for what they believe in. The lack of normalcy is what makes life interesting and real, and makes room for meaningful, progressive change.