The word ‘normal’ means something different to everyone. One person’s standard is another’s atypical.

This can be a somewhat uncomfortable realization considering how often we strive to be normal, only accidentally — and seldom as possible — crossing over into the realm of ‘different’ or ‘extreme’ or ‘weird.’

My normal might be your weird, but the same is true of your normal to me. From my perspective, you’re working really hard to maintain steadfast strangeness.

That’s not necessarily a bad thing, though, despite what most of us are told growing up. A person’s normal is dependent on their environment, but the evolution of their norms is catalyzed by their jaunts into abnormal. If we never broke our own standards, we’d never develop new ones, or refine those that already exist.

Challenging one’s own norms is a fantastic way to grow as a person. It’s important to have a solid structure upon which to stand — from where you can leap to greater and greater heights over the span of your life — but if you only use one kind of brick and one kind of mortar from birth to death, you may be missing out on something stronger, cheaper, or lighter weight. You may be using bricks when you should be using stone. Or sponge. Or trampolines.

Be true to yourself and your values, but don’t be afraid to venture forth into discomfort and weirdness from time to time. You can’t miss what you don’t know exists, but you also can’t be truly confident in your own beliefs until you’ve held them up for comparison against the available alternatives.