Define: Normal

Monday, 4 February 2013

This is a procedure I tend to use when I'm unsure of the exact meaning of a word. I type in define: and then the word in question into Google to be presented with a definition. Being a trainee journalist, it's always beneficial to brush up on my vocabulary and every new addition is valuable. Long gone are the days where you rummage through an old bookshelf to locate the dictionary and have a long hard look at what the word really means. Google is more accommodating and by all means all the more practical. According to the internet, normal is defined as 'conforming to a standard; usual, typical or expected'. But 'normal' has a different meaning to each individual - what one person thinks is normal another person would brand as a ridiculous definition. We make up our own minds of what is normal and use this to decipher what is, want for a better word - weird.

I'm not so much discussing this in terms of people, the debate would be ongoing because there are so many stereotypes that categorise people and brand them as something or other. I'm exploring the concept of the surroundings we find ourselves in and how they feel normal to us. Before I came to university, my house in Hemel Hempstead was to me, considered normal. My double bed, cosy living room and dated kitchen is what I was used to, and the idea of abandoning that for something unknown was rather daunting. When I moved to uni back in September I missed the home comforts and my surroundings. Even though I didn't like the town I lived in, it was the only thing I had known for the past 18 years which is hard to detach yourself from.

I've come to realise how growing up and maturing allows you to flit between surroundings. The only thing I can think to compare it to is having a second home, although I can't quite decide between Hemel and Nottingham which is my first home. Yes, it should be my house back in Hemel Hempstead where I was raised, but somehow it seems a million miles away when I'm in my one bed en-suite room here in Nottingham. It's something I've discussed with my mum many a time, but still can't seem to comprehend. When I'm at university it feels like I've properly moved out - I have independence, freedom, responsibility, and I like it. But the minute I step into my house back in Hemel, it feels as though I don't go to university and that I've never lived anywhere else.

Although I've got used to the switch between home and uni life, I've learned to like having two homes. I'm cared for, catered for and have memories and family back at home, and here I have friends, more memories and a whole new life which will take me places I could have never ventured to if I'd have stayed in Hemel. I guess the comforting thing is that despite whether I'm homesick, fancy a weekend back home or need somewhere to live until I can afford a house of my own when I graduate, I know the door will always be wide open for me. It most definitely isn't just a house, it's a home - it has a meaning and memories and that's most definitely something that can't ever be replaced.

So in reality, when talking about a person, an environment, a situation - who cares what normal is? As long as you're content in yourself and your surroundings then there's no reason for you not to embrace what's around you and just be happy.

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