When I ride my motorcycle, I almost never listen to music. Riding a motorcycle is a kind of meditation for me when I’m immersed into myself and just listening to my thoughts or feelings. For that I need silence, or just the sound of the road.
Now I have the opportunity to write down these thoughts, and perhaps to look at them from a different angle and under different circumstances, like nowadays’, when almost the whole world is frozen in perplexity and waiting. So let there be some reflections during the quarantine, although the quarantine itself was not the actual source of them, but the road that had been running in front of me, with no end all these years.
I really hope that these written thoughts will help me better understand myself and see something new and unexpected inside. And if they find an echo in someone else, I would probably be not happier.
Well, where shall I start …
The world has been turned upside down, but for me, in a slightly different way. We all stopped, but strangely enough, for me it was a return to the normal and familiar way of life that I already forgot about. Waking up for days and days in a row in the same place and in the same bed, instead of jumping out of bed in the first sunlight and hitting the road, without any idea where I would sleep the next night. Going shopping to the supermarket and inspecting the fridge, cooking my own meal in the kitchen, instead of grabbing a bite somewhere in the roadside cafes. Cleaning the house, feeling responsible for it, instead of every time leaving a hotel room with the thought that probably I will never come back here again. It turns out that for most of the world this was a shift from a normal lifestyle and a return to it for myself.
Ever since I was a kid, I used to think of myself as abnormal. But not that kind of abnormal you’re usually proud of – when you’re so special and eccentric, you don’t care what other people think about you, but you attract them like a magnet. I was very uncomfortable with my abnormality. When everyone was having fun and relaxing in a circle of friends, I was awkwardly standing or sitting on the sidelines looking for an excuse to slip away. I was sure there was nothing in me that people could like, and the more I tried, the more clumsy I seemed to be. And for all the trouble that was going on around me, especially in my family, I blamed myself too.
When the motorcycle came into my life all of a sudden, I felt comfortable for the first time in my life, and also for the first time I felt normal. I stopped wishing for someone to like me or trying to prove anything to anyone, I just did what I thought was right for me but the surroundings look at it very differently: the girl who was sitting alone at the side, afraid to start talking first, was perfectly normal in the eyes of the society, but the girl on the motorcycle was not. And the cherry on the top was my journey around the world. This was the absolute abnormality, which did not fit into any social canons, while I never felt happier, more fulfilled and more normal.
So what’s the norm, then? What’s normal? Isn’t it an agreement between people who just decided what is beautiful, or right, or wise, or normal? What means beautiful? And being young means how old? And being rich – how many millions in possession? Don’t we define it all in relation to someone or something else? Forty years old for a seventy year old is young, but once people who lived up to forty were long-lived, and the beauties of the past centuries would be considered chunks now.
But what if there’s no measure to compare yourself with? If there’s only you? Then who are you and what are you like? Young or old? Rich or poor? Normal or abnormal?
What about the circumstances? What means normal? Who knows how it’s supposed to be? Abnormal is unusual for us, but normal is the comfort zone where we would agree to be stuck forever. Sometimes we need abnormal circumstances to shake us up, even at the cost of some loss.
It happened that what is usually considered uncomfortable has become for me my personal comfort zone – endless road, uncertainty and unknown, inconvenience. But even though this comfort zone was different in formal terms, the terms of the impact on the one who was inside, on myself, was just like any other comfort zone – sucking in and limiting. And returning to a normal way of life, with waking up in the same bed, cleaning the house, and cooking, was the way out of my own comfort zone, just as difficult and tempting to slide back.
Suddenly it turned out that being in comfortable conditions, eating healthy food I cooked for myself, having enough rest and sleep, I felt more tired and broken than being on the road. And I thought… well, you dreamed that one day you would stop and have a settled life? Are you sure you’re gonna make it? Are you sure it’ll be normal for you?
I’m rereading this text, and I realize there are more questions than answers. So have I been able to find the answer for myself in the process of writing or have I confused myself with more questions? They say also that a question properly asked already contains an answer…
Normal is anything that develops us and makes us better. Normal is everything that happens to me and surrounds me, any choice which I feel intuitively and follow with my heart, even the choice of a feeling and attitude. Because all this can make me better, not compared to someone else, but compared to my past self. I have spent almost 7 years on the road without interruption, and that was normal. Now I’ve been staying in a seaside house for almost a month, doing my daily routine, and maybe that’s just the beginning. But this is also normal.
In the world of duality, when there is black or white, yes or no, good or bad, it’s hard to believe and accept that maybe both can exist at the same time. I like both movement and stops, both the sun and the moon, the storm and the calm, I like to ride on highways and backroads, to laugh and to cry, to talk and to be quiet. My norm has only one criterion and measure – my satisfaction with who I am and what I do.
And let the whole world try to convince me how it should be and what is normal, I will believe only myself.