From birth we all have multiple voices telling us how to be, what to do, what is expected, and the deadly, what is “normal.”  Our parents, our siblings, our teachers, our culture…all contribute to the cacophony of noise from which we are to piece together a life that is pleasing, that works, that makes us acceptable, lovable, successful, and “normal.” It’s fine to say, “being yourself is perfect” but how do we learn to be content with who we are?

The Pain of Not Being Normal

For a most of my life, in one way or another, I have felt the pain of not being “normal.”  I’ve done my best to look and act in ways that have been acceptable, but inside, I have judged myself as being wrong, out of step, bad, crazy and “different.”  It was confusing, because I also saw myself as adventurous, independent, brave, willing to think for myself and creative.

The Hero’s Journey

I believe we are each called to a unique life.  In order to live that life, we must go on what Joseph Campbell defined as “The Hero’s Journey.”  In order to be a hero (or heronine) you may wish you could just “be normal,” but ultimately you conquer your fear, experience hardships, follow your heart, and win the battle, content to be yourself. The Hero’s Journey teaches that being yourself is perfect…

There were “hardships” that strengthened me for the ultimate acceptance of the “not normal” trajectory of my life. My dream of having a loving marriage and family. Was that “normal” for a three-year-old?  Then at about the age of seven, I saw myself writing books to help others have more loving relationships. More “not normal” choices were training for natural childbirth before it was in vogue, nursing my babies when it was out of style, feeling the oddity and terror of being a young widow and single mom, refusing to remarry just to be “normal,” taking my boys camping and backpacking,

And then I married Jim who didn’t fit into my family’s male profile.  He wasn’t athletic, told corny jokes, was way too exuberant and was Baptist, not Quaker! Yet, on one of our first dates, after a deep discussion, Jim stated, “I believe you have a book in you!”  He was the first one who saw me as an author.  It took my breath away!

Epic Battles on This Hero’s Journey

Epic battles took place in the following years as I struggled to learn how to make our marriage and step-family work.  While navigating my eldest son Steve’s drug addiction, I learned valuable lessons. On my fiftieth birthday I awoke with the decision to earn a Masters Degree, and shortly after, in spite of paralyzing fear, published my first book. How to Stay Married & Love It!

As my unique journey continues, I face my fear that I can’t be a successful business woman, teaching others the life skills that have brought me so much joy.  This journey prompts me to excavate faulty beliefs and dig for the unrefined gold hidden within. I’m scared. I’m excited. I’m inspired. I’m challenged.  On my best days, I am reveling in being “abnormal” by moving into an arena rarely attempted by a woman seventy-nine years old.

My “Not Normal” Life is Perfect

Where are your heart and circumstances leading you? What is your hero’s journey? Are there obstacles are you facing, that when conquered, will bring great satisfaction? What are you being challenged to learn? Who do you desire in your deepest heart to be?

It’s OK to be scared. Our very unique lives rarely come with an instruction manual or blueprint. Sometimes we can’t see where we’ve been, what we’ve accomplished, until we look back from a great distance. Meanwhile we just put one foot in front of the other, doing our best to take steps that are in alignment with the person we want to be. Embrace where you are, and who you are. Stop wishing for some other, perfect life. Your life is bringing you the perfect lessons to promote your growth and the perfect challenges for which to be grateful! Right where you are. Right now! Being Yourself is Perfect!

Do I long for that other, imagined, “normal” life? Sometimes! But mostly I am content with who I am. I am grateful for where I have been led, what I have chosen, what I have learned. Bhagavad Gita stated 400 years ago, “It is better to live your own destiny imperfectly than to live a perfect imitation of somebody else’s life.” 

You have my love and support,