What's normal?

Last time I mentioned: I did have a chat with my husband over the festive period, we resigned to the fact that neither of us are content with the mundanity of the routine anymore. It prompted me to have a good old think about routine, and what is mundanity? What's normal?

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This feels a teeny bit personal and close to the bone to write, all very new to me. Please be kind. What am I doing? This is life labs, and real life choices are what I've chosen to write about:

The words routine, and mundanity, played over in my mind. I checked the Oxford Dictionary. I have to do this a lot, check my words, because I’m very well known by family and friends for using words out of context. Family and friends, they get the gist and round-about-point that I am coming to, eventually. But I often wonder whether I know where I am coming from.

The dictionary suggests mundane to mean: normal, everyday, typical.

I asked myself, how do I know that my life is normal, everyday, and typical? Typical is only to me.  

After speaking to a few friends about this and about that, I have come to realise that the things I like to do in my life, they are quite different from others.  I love to go out for tea with my children, decorating, D.I.Y., and listen to the radio. I adore researching the mind and the body, maybe the soul too. I’m a bit of a romantic, and the idea of travelling to somewhere new, preferably warm, more than once a year, it excites me. 

Others shuddered, they didn't relate to all of my likes, and preferred to be doing something other.

My husband who likes running a marathon a week, he is passionate and works hard, he pushes himself to the max. To me, this sounds painful. I like to read a good book, a great magazine, watch a movie, talk to friends,  and see family frequently. My partner continues to enjoy the run, to cycle, to climb mountains, and to have a goal, meet it, then push himself to exceed it.

On reading this, can you understand why my husband and I had to have a chat over the festive period?

I’m consciously noticing that our lives seek different visions, and although we are in a very successful relationship of twenty plus years and have the most amazing family, it’s never been easy. Now, both my own and my partners life expectations are drifting into different directions and expectations, and we had to ask ourselves and each other: Do we just stick and carry on regardless? Or twist?

Twist. This is not something I’ve ever wanted to test. I’ve never been the one to do the twisting. I’ve noticed in my life of late, that I have become very good at closing things down, because my ambition, my desires, they were potentially going to take this long-term-marriage into a new phase of push and pull, in truth, I didn't think I'd make it to this age. Closing-down opportunities has been far easier, than to consider that my own needs in life might have needed to be met.

I often think about celebrity families, the couples can be separated for long stretches of time, yet they come together, and all is well. Although, do they come back together, happy, content and in love or is this just what it looks like on the outside? What is love? Is it lust?

A few chit-chats with people about this, whereby their partners do go away and then return, the women, let's say at home, they often felt like they had to step-up whilst alone. Then, on their partners return they would non-consciously set-aside themselves to fit the partner back in. This really surprised me. And what surprised me more was the fact that I could relate.

I think about the many divorces I’ve read about in the news and magazines over the years and I wonder whether it’s more gossip and hype, usually because of a new movie or a book release. Does the P.R. world turn the normal into chaos simply for something to talk about? I often wonder about the people who do get a divorce, did they continue their relationship in secret, because society expects that a divorce is final. Who is to say that people within relationships accepting of individuality shouldn’t work-out, with or without a marriage certificate? 

With plenty of differences. What connects the couple? I may have to glean some tips from the Dossier in the March 2019 Edition of Psychologies Magazine. I listen to and read a lot of hype about why people shouldn’t be with their partners, and whether behaviours are a slippery slope, and with all of this in mind I must remind myself, what exactly is the norm?

The dictionary I have, I've pulled it out again, it’s important that I attempt to be as clear as possible on Life Labs today:

Normal: typical, usual, expected, run of the mill.

After writing down these words of explanation, I don’t wish to be typical, usual and expected. I love to do what feels right to me, which isn’t always the perceived norm. For example I like to eat pizza with a knife and fork. If someone looks unhappy, I smile, hoping it may help.  If I want to try something new and it frightens me, I push myself a little harder and aim to strengthen my resilience switch, how will I truly know unless I try?

With all of this in mind, I have chosen in 2019 not to put my own life on hold any longer, that would be the norm. And if my husband can’t adapt to suit, we are going to have to make some decisions and new goals, together. Routine is great for stability, and family life, it offers balance, harmony, identity and a structure to life; but it shouldn’t stop the flow and the progress of every individual encapsulated within the routine.

I don’t choose to be typical, usual, expected, nor run of the mill. I choose to be choosy, to continue to keep trying everything that comes my way, otherwise. How will I know what my higher-sense-of-self looks like, unless I try.

Core values in place, boundaries in check! Wish me luck.


Next time: Thinking about nutrition and health has helped in bringing balance to my adventurous writer’s life. I’ve been exercising and healthy eating for six months and not shed a single pound. Why? I'll let you know.


Julie Spencer

Ambassador and Learning Support Assistant, Psychologies Magazine

Proud Ambassador for Psychologies Magazine. The magazine encapsulates many of my core values: being kind, have compassion, look after your health and wellbeing, be professional and be supportive of others. A little self belief can go a long way. I have studied as a mature student. I went into a writing frenzy and spent 3 years writing in solitude. I was a stay at home mum, too. What I learned: being alone for long periods of time is bad for your health and wellbeing. Thanks to a little nudge from Psychologies Magazine I am reconnecting and rebuilding my C.V. I'm a creative. I have lots of ideas and I need to constantly realign my focus onto one project at a time. Until recently I had a real fear for public speaking, but after reading a book that suggested I acknowledge my fears and challenge them anyway; with the support of the Psychologies community and more I'm working through my fears one blog at a time.