25 years since Forrest Gump threw this simple question into the air and it’s never been so relevant since then till the year 2020 where it’s been reverberating throughout the whole wide world with people seeking nothing but just a little “normal” in their lives.
“Normal” as an adjective or a describing word is defined by the Oxford lexicon as “Conforming to a standard; usual, typical, or expected” while normal the noun as ” The usual, typical, or expected state or condition.” The lexicon always provides the definition of the word as deemed understood but as always fail to provide the “thought process” behind what may actually be normal. Normal, the lexicon further says has been derived from the Latin word “normalis” which probably meant the same – in order, conforming to a standard, typical, as expected ..but what is the standard? What is typical? What was expected? What’s normal anyways? Gump sure knew how to ask the questions that mattered and ask he did which set the whole world thinking, normal, ahh to be normal again!!!
Normal as in normal days was probably letting ourselves to wake up to the inhuman sounds of the alarm set at an ungodly hour of quarter past five in the morning, the sun barely rising above the horizon as we rushed about pasting toothpaste on our teeth to go out and conquer the world with our fresh, minty smelling breathe that sometimes we even forgot to adhere to while trying to be normal. Then the hurried breakfast of cereal in a bowl of chilled milk, an omelette perhaps and two slices of properly undone toast – how we wish we could get the toast as we wanted it to be “just done, not burnt with the perfect crisp” a normal toast! And then the rush hour, the infamous rushing towards God knows what – man made traffic chaos created by normal people in the quest for a normal day in office – checking, writing, replying to emails, deleting spam, meetings, targets, the boss and his eccentricities, the pretty young intern, the politics, the few friends, money earned in meager packets with of course caffeine consumption in litres perhaps enough to get you through a normal day in the most unassuming normal premises.
Then the normal changed, the not so normal became the “new normal” and a word was coined for the lexicon – “A previously unfamiliar or atypical situation that has become standard, usual, or expected..”
Normal as in the new normal days is again waking up to a wisp of fresh air floating through your window as you Spotify your favourite tune and curl into the softness of your blanket as the morning emerges “sepia tonned” as if it’s a part of the dream that you had dreamt for all those living years of your life, with Taylor Swift crooning a background score. The toothpaste could wait till late afternoon and the toast can go and take a walk to the bakery. Bread is gonna be a “focaccia” or a “sourdough” one created by yours truly and eaten only after the filtered photographs have been hashtagged #baking #sourdough #simplejoys #lockdown on the instagram, the new normal window to our new normal wired world. It’s WFH – work from home – no rush, no traffic, no more bumming the boss’s mood, it’s just you, your home, Taylor Swift, an occasional webinar, the sourdough and the joys of a “new normal!”
So what if there are no malls that are open for shopping, no restaurants to eat the exotic food, no bars to chill with a beer and let your hair down, no splurging the hard earned money on the excesses of life and living which was “normal” till then, the standards have been refurbished, typical has become atypical, expectations have been lowered or maybe raised to meet the actual nuances of life and living. An approach to living life with the simple joys – baking a “sourdough” perhaps or even cleaning out your drawers to create a minimalistic atmosphere of possessions, a “Marie Condo” type of keeping only those things in life that gives you joy!
Joy – goes straight into the closet of your life, no joy – goes outta the window into the streets with the billboards of the “new normal” strewn all over. We are sorry Forrest Gump, your question remains unanswered and will do so forever – “What’s normal anyways?”