A dose of normality

Tuesday, August 26, 2014 Permalink

One of the reasons I left the Commonwealth Government after my posting to East Timor was because I craved normality.

Life in Dili was pretty stressful – busy work days and less of the usual home comforts. I know this is something people in developing nations deal with all of the time, and I know I shouldn’t be complaining about a few years here and there ‘without’. (#Ungratefulmuch?!)

But I just wanted to be able to go to a grocery store. Or belong to a gym. I used to pour over the entertainment sections of old Australian newspapers deciding what shows or plays I would see… If I could.

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When I first moved back to Australia I was ridiculously excited by public transport. Needless to say, that novelty didn’t last long. Similarly I really didn’t make the most of everything suddenly being on my doorstep…. But you get the point.

It’s a no-brainer that almost all of us only want what we don’t, or can’t, have. The grass is always greener… yadda yadda yadda.

I’ve long lived alone. I crave alone-time. When I worked full-time I *occasionally* happily avoided seeing or speaking to anyone between leaving work on a Friday and returning on a Monday.

However, post-seachange, things have changed. As I mostly work from home I spend a lot of time alone. At my desk. Which is – unfortunately – in my bedroom. I’ve possibly mentioned before that I’ve worked out that I spend about 18-20hrs a day in my bedroom – between my desk and my bed. (The remaining four-six hours are divided evenly between chores, the bathtub – reading, and in front of the TV).

While I never get lonely. I do get antsy. I crave normality. I crave the mundane and the things that many others take for granted. (Just, I’m sure… as others envy my nightly baths and dinners on the sofa in front of TV with no one else to hog the remote control!)

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Obviously time with family and friends help ground us and having my mother (family) in a nearby town has made a big difference to my life. Sometimes, I tell her, I just want to go and hang out with her in my childhood home. We don’t need to do ‘stuff’. It’s just that sense of normality – or a different type of normality – I crave.

I’ve talked here a lot about my friend KangaRue and her adorable son Pickle. Indeed, the (now) three year old has featured in a post or two.

Fortunately we’re good friends so KangaRue doesn’t think it’s weird that I’ve tagged along to a couple of his swimming lessons in the recent past. (In fact I’m thinking of asking if I can go again soon.)

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I know many parents detest having to sit through such swimming or gym or ballet classes each week, but for me it’s like a breath of fresh air. It’s something real. Something normal.

In my little self-absorbed universe it’s easy to forget there’s life outside. Watching Pickle’s swimming lesson reminds me that there’s something outside of my blogging and my need to earn money and pay bills. I know some of what I appreciate is Pickle’s (and indeed most children’s) sense of wonderment and awe and I’m reminded of an old post about infusing some play into our day.

But – for me – it’s not even about fun. It’s just an escape from my world into someone else’s. Someone else’s normal.

Do you find calm, normality or joy in the mundane or unusual?

32 Comments
  • Amy @HandbagMafia
    August 26, 2014

    Some days, I just want to stay home with the kids and do something ordinary. It’s refreshing 🙂

    • Debbish
      August 26, 2014

      Yes… it’s surprising what nourishes us!

  • Lydia C. Lee
    August 26, 2014

    Very interesting post – I like the spider fly quote. Need to think on this one…I need to think on this a little more. I may be back…

  • JodiGibson (@JFGibsonWriter)
    August 26, 2014

    I think you have nailed it. Someone’s normal is someone else’s extraordinary. I think it would pay for us to remember this each and every day. x

    • Debbish
      August 26, 2014

      True. I find it weird that people envy my nightly 2hr baths (during which I read). Really I do it cos (now I don’t work FT) the time from 5.30 – 8pm is the only time I feel ‘alone’ and I need something to fill that time.

  • Char
    August 26, 2014

    Honestly, I’ve been craving normality lately. I want boring, mundane and unexciting for a little while.

    • Debbish
      August 26, 2014

      Oh yes…. it sounds like you’ve had a lot on your plate!

  • Lee-Anne
    August 26, 2014

    Pause for thought, Deb…normal as in routines and mundane can be nice and comforting…and everyone’s ‘normal’ is so different! Your nightly bath routine sounds wonderful. 🙂

    • Debbish
      August 26, 2014

      Yes. I certainly miss it when I don’t have it!

  • @Kanga_Rue
    August 26, 2014

    Firstly, I love the meme’s you’ve chosen for this post.

    I love spending time with you. I love that you like to be part of Pickle’s and my life. I feel like I’ve been swamped and haven’t seen you as much as I’ve liked recently, so please do come along, whenever suits x

    (NB. The schedule is a little nuts over the next week weeks with various training, so I’ll keep you posted.)

    Rx

    • Debbish
      August 26, 2014

      I always think it’s weird that something so uneventful can be so enjoyable! My life can be just a bit too insular sometimes!

  • Pinky Poinker
    August 26, 2014

    I bet Pickle loves having you there! And Kanga-Rue too. If memory serves me correctly swimming lessons are boring and having a friend there would make the time go quicker. I still can’t believe you read in the bath Deb! Don’t the books get mildewy?

    • Debbish
      August 26, 2014

      I read pretty quickly so not enough time for that! But on the book review front I’m mostly getting eBooks… But I have a waterproof iPad cover!

  • Kylie Purtell - A Study in Contradictions
    August 26, 2014

    I love nothing better than to go and hang out at my parent’s or the in-laws for a few hours. Not doing anything special, just being. Having dinner. The other night myself, my two sisters-in-law and my MIL all sat around the table on our phones and tablets playing a vocabulary game. While we weren’t actually playing the game against each other, it was fun to just hang out and talk about the different questions and words we were all getting. Those are my favourite times, just chilling and doing mundane, normal stuff with my family.

  • yinyangmother
    August 26, 2014

    I love hanging at home and not going anywhere all day – because that is not normal. I love a weekend at my parents place where the household chores are left behind and it is just social, and normal. I get that craving for Aussie city normal after living in East Timor, even after living in Canada for a year there were things I missed about normal Aussie live (lots of sunshine and blue skies included).

    • Debbish
      August 26, 2014

      Yes – I’m home all day more often than not! Mostly I prefer it!

  • Satu
    August 26, 2014

    I think I understand 100%. 🙂

    I’ve lived alone my whole adult life alone and also spend much of my time alone at home so I know what you mean when you say you crave normalcy. Actually, spending time with children is a perfect way to get grounded. I’ve even thought about moving where my little sister and my two nieces live so I could be part of their life. If there were more jobs available over there I might have actually done that…

    I’m glad my “new” hobbies – salsa and singing in a choir – start in a couple of weeks. I’m also thinking about volunteering somewhere at the moment.

    • Debbish
      August 26, 2014

      I guess when my niece was little I had a lot of time with her as well. I used to do volunteer work a few years ago and probably should think about that again.

  • Have A Laugh On Me
    August 27, 2014

    It’s such a great to step outside of your comfort, as a writer and blogger, it gives the mind and soul a much-needed recharge I believe! Lovely sunnies skies are back and I’m happy! xx

    • Debbish
      August 27, 2014

      Yes, I was going to talk in that post about how (when I first made my seachange) walks on a nearby pier would really ‘ground’ me. I struggled with the loss of identity thing when I stopped working FT and had time off and struggled a bit, but I’d head out onto a nearby pier and would be reminded that everything was okay!

  • Lisa@RandomActsOfZen
    August 27, 2014

    Deb, I love those “boring”, ordinary days, I feel like they recharge me.
    I’m sure KangaRue appreciates having you at those swimming lessons; I used to feel like they went on forever when Bell was learning!
    I think we all feel like others have bits and pieces of their days that seem better than our own. It’s human nature really, isn’t it? x

    • Debbish
      August 27, 2014

      Oh yes… I often say I’m usually happy with my ‘lot’ in life until I look over at someone else!

  • Emma Fahy Davis
    August 27, 2014

    Our lives are pretty erratic and unpredictable with Mercedes’ health so I often find myself craving normality (whatever that is!) and routine, but I bet East Timor was even more erratic and unpredictable!

    • Debbish
      August 27, 2014

      Probably just different but similarly stressful I would expect. xx

  • Jo Tracey
    September 2, 2014

    I love this. Mostly I love how one persons normal, or chore, is anothers excitement.

    • Debbish
      September 2, 2014

      Oh yes, it’s a nice reminder that others may appreciate stuff we don’t. (That whole ‘grass is greener’ thing. But opposite!)

  • Lori Hil
    September 2, 2014

    I spend a lot of time in my bedroom office too! When I am out and about for a few days, I long to get back into that passion state at my desk, no matter how ordinary. Thanks for sharing!

    • Debbish
      September 3, 2014

      You’re welcome Lori and I’m glad you could relate!!!

      Deb

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