Most people make a big deal about New Year’s resolutions. I’ve been known to make (and break) a few. But if I am going to make one resolution this year, it’s to NOT be normal. Huh? Aren’t we supposed to be normal? Isn’t that what we’re supposed to groom our kids to be? Normal? Well, the best I can tell, normal is bad. Really bad.
The normal diet is unhealthy. Processed foods offer little nutritional value. Chemically and genetically altered seeds change the very nature of our DNA. High fructose corn syrup is in everything. I mean EVERYthing. Crackers. “Healthy” granola. Barbecue sauce. Yogurt. Bread. Salad dressings. Cough syrup. By the time you have a little of this and a pinch of that, you’ve just consumed an unreasonable amount of sugar and hundreds of calories. Diabetes, anyone? Animals slated for the food chain are fed anything that will fatten them up (to weigh more and fetch a higher price) and given antibiotics to reduce the natural results of a bad diet. All of which ends up in our stomach, too. Everyone is sick from their diet. That’s normal.
The normal lifestyle is stressful. Busy. Busy. Busy. Can we cram one more appointment, one more activity, one more party into a day? The normal person is always in a hurry. And that harassed, hurried lifestyle produces people who are rude, mean, and self-serving. Don’t believe me? Try driving at any time of day in any city and count the number of times you get cut off, honked at, or flipped off. Rude with a capital R. Then, try disagreeing with someone on anything, even the color of the sky. Watch their rage build and their veins bulge out while they cuss a blue streak, then stomp off to their car with a What Would Jesus Do sticker and peel out of the parking lot, narrowly missing a mom and her kids getting out of the car. My favorite is people who create a victim persona while doing little to change their circumstances. I always say life comes at your fast, and you can’t always dodge. But you can pick up the pieces. Everyone is busy and stressed and has problems. That’s normal.
The normal financial plan is live the life you want, whether you can afford it or not. Debt is seen as a stepping stone to something better until you get to the top and suddenly can’t make all the payments. It can be a long fall to the bottom. The beginning is usually subtle. Everyone takes out a mortgage for a house. Everyone has a car payment. Everyone buys new clothes for school. Everyone has a 60″ HDTV and cable and a smartphone and a tablet and a dozen other things. Everyone is in debt. That’s normal.
So, I’m making one resolution this year. I’m NOT going to be normal. Short and sweet, but challenging.
Not normal is making little decisions. Eat at home instead of in a drive thru. Say no instead of running to the next activity. Give instead of take.
Not normal is spend less, not more. Make do. Recycle. Buy used. Take care of what I have. Only spend what I have.
Not normal is be an individual, not an automaton. Be who I am, where I am. Stand out from the crowd.
Not normal is a marathon. A lot of steps over and over and over.
What does not normal look like in real life? People who have faced unimaginable tragedies and hardships, yet they become more generous, not less.
Parents who lose a child, adopt two more.
A family faced with financial hardship from a layoff and a chronic illness starts a non-profit to help other families in similar circumstances.
A family who loses everything in a bankruptcy builds an efficiency-size house with no debt to start over.
A tri-athlete recruits a team of amateur athletes to compete in events and raise money for people facing financial and medical crises.
A single woman sells everything she owns and moves to a foreign country to help a ministry form a business model to become self-sustaining.
A woman permanently confined to a wheelchair prays for friends and sends them encouraging notes.
A woman who can’t eat solid food due to an illness cooks a meal for her husband every night. She’s partially blind, but she sees the best in everyone she knows.
Yeah, being NOT normal sounds like a real challenge. I don’t know if I’m up for it. But it’s my one New Year’s resolution.
Anyone else want to be NOT normal with me?