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It's true, no matter what is going on in your life, what has happened, if you are paying attention or not, time waits for no man (yes, yes, or woman!).

It takes a glitch in the routine, a break from the norm to make you realise where you actually are right now. Like the monotonous daily commute, from time to time we look up and think "how the hell did I get here?" In reality we do that a lot, and think nothing of it.

However when something bigger happens, a change of job, a death, a break-up (well of course I was going to squeeze that one in somehow), once we get control of the spinning and pull out of the impending spiral of doom, suddenly it becomes apparent that things have changed around us.

This could be in many different ways, people, things, places. A bit vague maybe? Then I shall dig a little deeper.
For example, the people around us. There are those close to us, who we engage with daily. We know them well, and they form part of the structure of our daily routine. As simple as a shopkeeper, as important as a partner, they are all the fabric of our reality. Then there are those we tolerate. People we don't get much of a choice but to interact with, however wouldn't if we could help it. Co-workers are the main category here, although friends of friends can fall into this one quite often too.
Then there is "the rest". The background noise so to speak. We can come across the same people day in day out and never really pay any attention to them whatsoever. Or very little at best.

The crazy thing is, in times of confusion and need, all roles are reversed, and priorities change. In our routine, the background noise settles, and almost goes away, and we focus on the other two categories. But when routine is gone, all the noise returns.
An example if I may.
A busy underground station,  full of faceless people making their own noises, all adding up to a crushing bombardment of sound. On a good day, in good company, engrossed in conversation with the friend, the sound is barely there, we are cocooned in our safe, happy world. Take that person away, and add a simple niggling concern to your mind, and the platform is suddenly deafening. So much noise, hard to think, the mind goes into overdrive.

Thankfully, finding ourselves out in the wilderness of the outer circles of life, isn't too common, and in general we don't go through it too many times in life. Depending on what sort of person you are will no doubt dictate how you cope out there. Overthinkers beware! It's is a minefield packed with booby traps and potholes. That said, there is a way through, so don't panic. For most, it is a simple journey finding their way back into the security of what remains of the inner circles. Supported by our caring friends, normality returns quickly, and we are back on track.

All that said and done, there IS a point to this, so let me see if I can find it in the mess.
How can I put this without sounding too stupid. Who am I trying to kid, most of my blogs sound a little bit daft at the best of times.
We are like cogs, and to operate properly we need a certain amount of corresponding cogs to work with. Being like this gives us support, and allows us to support others at the same time (nice eh!). So when something changes, we need to ensure the cogs keep turning. For some of us we prioritise ourselves, and some of us focus on the others. Either way, the time we spend paying more attention to our surroundings is important. It gives us time to appreciate that its not all just background noise, and that some of it is good stuff. It's almost like an intake of new friends.
Be it, socialising more, and realising what people bring to the table, taking more time to talk, and appreciating just how much you have in common with others. Or sometimes that stark reality, that you were living a lie! Whatever it is, to coin a phrase "It's good to talk".

When we talk, we listen. Well that's the idea anyway. I seem to excel at talking, but listening is a weakness at times. In fact talking is important to me, it's almost like a release valve, getting all the excess pressure out of my head, and just out there. Doesn't need deep, intellectual conversation, just a sounding board to blurt it all out to once in a while. As you might have guessed, occasionally I use my blog for this purpose, and this could actually be one of those times.

Anyway.... When we listen, we engage, and connect with people, and this is the key to it all.
From time to time when these encounters happen, we realise we actually enjoy the interaction of a person, and wonder why it was so hard to have bothered with this before. Then, before you know it, they are part of the routine.

So I guess what I am trying to say, and I have to guess at this point as it has gone all over the place now... The point is, change isn't a bad thing. Yup, it's unsettling, sure it leaves us feeling lost and vulnerable at times. But the positive side is, it is like us having a review of our lives, and who we surround ourselves with. A short moment to take stock of what you have in life, and what you are missing from your life. And most of all, an opportunity to make changes for the better, and fill those gaps.

Maybe the opportunity will present, and you will shy away. Maybe you will try and make something out of nothing. Or maybe just for once you will throw caution to the wind, scream "FUCK IT" from the highest point you can find, and just take a chance for once.

However you have read this, please take great comfort in the knowledge that I have got all this off my chest, and somewhere in all those words, I have made sense of what is going on once more in my complex little head. Take a look outside once in a while.... It's really not so bad.

Simple question I was asked the other day, and one that has always sat well with me. Not normal, a phrase I often use to describe myself, and one which usually goes unchallenged. Except for yesterday of course. So I was told to put some thought to my statement, and here it is.

Normality to most is in fact routine. Not a set of values we use to assess others, but a set of rules which we follow in our day to day life. Habits, behaviours, and moral beliefs. For example, if you see two people kissing, do you look away a little embarrassed by being a witness to their actions, or do you look on and think 'how sweet'? Already we have a baseline for what I mean. A simple act of care and affection like a kiss can divide the masses, and provoke us to determine if its right or wrong, normal or not normal.

Others have a slightly more open minded to what normal is, and while accepting the everyday decisions and actions of individuals around them, tolerating difference in opinions of what is OK to do on a day to day basis. Choosing only to judge normal and not normal on much more powerful and thought provoking matters. Violence, sex offences, and 'extreme' views on religion and power.

So why do I use the phrase 'not normal' so freely? Well, over the years, as the blog no doubt shows, I have slowly but surely got to know myself, and my mind quite well. Seeming to be a little different to most people I know, in my opinion at least. Yes we are all pieces in the giant game of chess that life is. But what piece we believe ourselves to be determines who we are. For me, a mere pawn is where I see myself. The first to feel the force of the opposition, tiny in comparison to other pieces, and sometimes a little powerless. But when it comes to the crunch, this little pawn can be mighty and topple even the greatest.

OK, quite a strange analogy I know, and maybe not my best to date, but its a start.

The big thing for me is my interest in others. Constantly seeking to help somehow, involved on a much deeper level than most care to be in other peoples lives. An over-thinker, taking far too much time to try and understand something or someone, while sometimes missing the entire point. A knowledge sponge, constantly on the search for something new, something different, a new experience.

So back to the question, what is normal? Well in short, every person around you while sharing certain moral values, will have a different of what normal is. Tattoos, another amazing example of how easily we judge and decide if someone is normal or not. Colouring your skin in, with needles and inks, well its not natural, no of course its not. But by today's standards, given its popularity, its pretty normal now.

Ultimately it is all about opinions, beliefs, and values. Once you have your own baselines for those three categories, you are a little closer to being able to give your definition of YOUR normality.

As for if I am really normal or not, well that's for you and you only to decide if I conform. If a complex minded, considerate, over baring, sharp tongued, tattooed man who bares open his soul to the internet is 'normal' to you... Then I take it all back, I am 100% boring and normal.

If my blogs confuse you, tattoos disgust you, or personality irritates you, then I am in a sense happy, to be individual and different in your eyes.  Either way, I don't mind how people see me, judge me, or what they say about me. I am happy with who I am. It took years to perfect this careful balance of considerate arsehole, so I'm not changing, not for anyone.