what does normal even mean?

The word normal itself, in my opinion, doesn't have a real meaning. Labelling something as normal merely means that it conforms to a certain norm. The thing is, that norm is a human made concept, so it's us who give the word meaning based on societal standards. But just because the majority of people act a certain way, dress a certain way, do a certain thing or believe in a certain idea - does that make it normal? Shouldn't it rather be an individual concept? Shouldn't we be able to decide for ourselves what we consider to be normal?

I'm vegan. I don't drink alcohol. I'm not into the same things other people my age are into. So does that make me weird? Am I weird because I don't see eating meat or drinking alcohol as normal? Am I weird because I don't go to parties but stay at home reading or enjoy long walks in the forest? The answer is no. No, I'm not. Because to me, NOT eating animal products, NOT drinking alcohol, NOT going to parties - to me those things are perfectly normal. Someone else thinking you're weird doesn't mean you actually are. That's simply their perception, based on their definition of the word normal.

Why are we expected to conform to unwritten rules? Even if you see someone wear, do, or say something that's weird in your eyes, why does it have to matter? I don't know. I really don't know. There are some things I'll never understand, never be able to accept no matter how many times I hear the phrase 'that's just how it is'. I'm not satisfied with that answer. I'm not here to blindly follow everything I'm told. I'm here to find my own truth. I want to make a difference. I want to have an impact by sharing my thoughts and views, even if it's only a small one.
One day we'll hopefully live in a world where we let people do their own thing, believe what they believe in, be who they want to be (as long as they're not hurting anyone or deliberately putting another being in danger of course). We'll be a little more open-minded, a little more accepting of what doesn't conform to our society's norms. Until then, I'd like to encourage you to stick to your own concept, to never dim your light. You have every right to be a unique kind of normal.

on overcoming fears & living in the now

A few days ago, I had my first ever job interview, something that would have been this big, scary thing a couple of years ago. Actually, my first response when I read the invitation to the interview was fear. Fear has been dictating my life many times before. Fear of the unknown, fear of change, fear of failure, fear of social situations.

Something I learned though, especially this year, is that fear is hardly ever based on evidence. It's based on false, limiting beliefs, things like 'you'll mess up' or 'you won't be able to do it.' Fear makes us imagine all different kinds of scenarios that never end up happening. Fear holds us back from making new experiences. But it's those experiences that lead to personal growth. And personal growth leads to being the person we have the potential to be. Learning to let go of limiting beliefs is the first step to freedom.

Today, I had my second job interview. As I got up in the morning and asked myself how I was feeling, I noticed that I wasn't really all that nervous anymore. I was rather feeling excited about it.

It's truly wonderful - reflecting and recognising that you're suddenly doing things you always thought you couldn't do and facing situations you thought you'll never be able to face. Once you look back on a challenging situation, you'll realise that by overcoming it something within you changed, leaving space for a stronger you. Every time you face one of those situations, it becomes easier. And you'll see that it's not even that scary to begin with.  It's almost freeing, to know that today's worries and fears are tomorrow's lessons and experiences. 

I think what it all comes down to, a big part of overcoming fears, is living in the now. Quite often fear arises when we dread what's to come or dwell on what's already gone. But every time our peace of mind gets disturbed by certain thoughts, we can return to the present moment. We can centre ourselves. We can choose to put our focus on the current happenings instead of future events. Because those future events, we can't predict nor control them. It's not in our power. Something that's in our power though is taking actions in the present moment that will bring us closer to the outcome we wish for. When and in what specific form that outcome will occur, we won't know until it does. All we can do until then is to keep going, despite the fear, despite the uncertainty, and despite the possible discomfort.