Photo by Jose Aragones on Unsplash

What is "normal" anyway?

Does something being "normal" mean that it's right or healthy? Or safe? Or even makes sense?


Reddit user Buttercuppy44 asked:

"What's something people should stop normalizing?"

... and you know what... a lot of this kinda hit in that uncomfortable way that makes you re-think things. So let's talk about it and maybe change some habits.

Humans Need Sleep

Tired Jet Lag GIF Giphy

"Bragging about getting less than 6 hours of sleep." - sumtinfunny

"It honestly scares me when I hear people brag about getting next to no sleep and I know that they drive to get around."

"There have been studies that driving tired can be just as dangerous as driving drunk, and all it takes is one time nodding off at the wheel for someone to get killed." - danger-daze

"This really aggravates me.. I dated a girl in high school would force herself to INTENTIONALLY stay awake, then put black makeup on under her eyes and act fake-tired to give off the impression of not being able to sleep."

"It genuinely irritates me when people say and do things like that when in reality they're sleeping like babies and there's people with actual sicknesses like insomnia and depression who don't sleep at night." - bongripsnkickflips

"Admittedly this was me years ago until I realized what an idiot I was being and that also no one cared. No one was gonna give me a medal for gaming all night and then telling the office the next day." - KatanaDV20

Sick Days

I Feel Sick GIF Giphy

"Coming to work sick. People tend to get praised for that, but they are in fact just endangering others to get sick as well and in the end it costs the company more as if they just stayed home." - derEggard

"This always gets to me. Two kinds of people stand out at work:"

"Those that take a sick day off for a light headache or just outright skive, causing more work for others constantly - who obviously take the piss, and I mean obviously."

"Then there are the people who come into work on death's door, potentially spreading what they have when they should be home resting, which makes other people sick who take time off or make other people sick..."

"If you're sick, go home! If you're not sick, go to work!" - Yayzeus

"I used to work in a grocery store that did service awards every year. One year a Bakery worker was awarded for never taking a sick day on his 25 year career."

"I cannot believe the man had never been sick in 25 years - and he's the one preparing the baked goods." - goldanred

A Badge Of Honor

Stressed Paper GIF by Two Mortgage Guys Giphy

"Overworking really has become a badge of honor. Probably because sometimes it's rewarded."

"I've seen people get praise for working late from their leaders. Things like, "Hey I see the people who stay late" when someone leaves hours after close."

"What if their time management just sucks? What if they're just catching up as a personal preference and it's not hard nor necessary? And heaven forbid, what if the person leaving on time wants to be with family or live life beyond work?" - dayron669

"I've seen people still wear it like a badge of honor even when it's NOT encouraged!"

"Those people drive me a bit nuts, if I'm honest, and I've made a point of telling them that it's neither healthy nor a good way to get 'noticed' (I'm going the networking route instead to get recognition within the company which is genuinely paying off)."

"The reward for doing more work is more work - not a pay rise. I wish people would understand this." - XCinnamonBun

Enough With The Ads

Comedy Central Advertising GIF by South Park Giphy

"Ads on stuff you've paid for."

"It's bad enough on TV, but now some companies are talking about doing ads on video games! Whoever thought TV-ads on full priced games is a good idea, should take a shower in white phosphorus." - DinkaHakumai

"My ISP started putting unskippable ads at the start of recorded shows because everyone was obviously skipping them. This should 100% be illegal." - microwavedave27

"And the ads at the pump. Can I not get gas without commercials?" - bonafidebunnyeyed

"They even have floating advertisements on some beaches in Florida. These companies won't chill."

"Man imagine relaxing on a beautiful beach at sunset and some a**hole's got a bright movie screen playing ads across the horizon..." - a-strange-glow

Marriage Isn't Jail

married with children ed oneill GIF Giphy

"Married couples disliking one another. Normalizing abusive and toxic elements in marriage is lame, bro." - user deleted

"I cant stand when people post sh*tty marriages on social media as a joke. Oh, my husband ignores me and only talks to our dog so funny. So lame.." - SpaceAlienCowGirl

"This. I'm straight as an arrow and I prefer seeing gay relationships in media because 9 times out of 10 they're healthy, functional, and it's obvious that the ones in a said relationship truly care and appreciate each other."

"Meanwhile almost every straight relationship just makes me question love in its entirety." - Insanebrain247

"I really hate the trope of husband and wife hate each other or when someone gets married everyone make jokes about how terrible marriage is."

"It shouldn't be like that. I feel like it's normalizing it so much to the point that people get married and almost expect to hate each other" - HermitToadSage

"Yep! I hate this stereotype that marriages almost always consist of two people with secret deep-rooted hate for one another."

"It's made into this thing we laugh about and see so much of in movies & stuff that people accept it in their own marriage & just stay together unhappy and subjecting their kids to so much!"

"It's not normal at all. If you married the wrong person for you, get a freaking divorce and move on. Stop staying in miserable marriages." - jadedjade94

Your Opinion

Sassy Swipe GIF by Real Prosperity, Inc. Giphy

"Having an opinion on everything. It's okay to look at something on the internet and think to yourself 'I don't have to care about this.' " - SymphonicStorm

"This is amazing advice."

"On some issues that affect me directly, I have a strong opinion - but for most things, I just don't. I always respond with something so neutral that the only people who get offended by it are people who are looking for a reason to get offended."

"The best thing to say against someone who is trying to get offended is: 'I don't know enough about [subject] to have a strong opinion.' " - AceP_

"My dad recently asked me what I thought about Critical Race Theory. I told him I hadn't heard any clear enough definition of it such that I could have an opinion (though I knew exactly whose interpretation of it he was going on lol), and asked him what he thought it meant."

"He took a beat to ponder, then changed the subject." - akgeekgrrl

Vacay

Tamar Braxton Love GIF by WE tv Giphy

"Working while on vacation. You go on vacation to relax and enjoy yourself, not to try to fill out spreadsheets and deal with work stuff in your hotel room." - earhere

"We just need TWO DAYS for our wedding tomorrow and a relax day Monday - and my fiancé is having a meltdown trying to get things prepared for not being there."

"It breaks my heart. He works 6 days a week and if he takes a day off he is dealing with a week worth of mistakes the other workers have made or fixing things they slacked off on. He gets 4 phone calls and loads of text messages every time he tries to relax."

"The worst part, he isn't a doctor or runs an emergency service company or anything. He's the manager of a f*cking shoe store!"

"Like it's not life or death. Leave the guy alone. It's f*cking shoes." - malice816

Down With Homework

Studying College Life GIF Giphy

"I don't think homework should be a thing. As an adult, you are not supposed to work on your free time. Neither should kids."

"As an adult, doing more hours of work after work is seen as a sign that you're being overworked. The same should apply to children." - keeperofheads

"My oldest had to go through this."

"She would get so overwhelmed she'd run out of time and just shove assignments under her bed. Luckily, my youngest is now in high school and rarely has homework."

"All that excessive homework sets kids up to take jobs that have them take work home as adults. It's seriously problem in the US" - SixxTheSandman

"At the risk of undermining the efforts of students reading this, there is no evidence that regular homework is of any benefit."

"I talked to an acquaintance who is an educational researcher and she said there's squat evidence. The only time it helps is if there is a remedial necessity. And then only for limited periods."

"She said if you, say, were deficient in the math work being presented, then the best outcome was reached with a program of about a month. To upskill to the level being taught so that you "get" that section, ensuring the fundamentals up to that point were met."

"Then carry on as regular. Rinse and repeat if further issues arose."

"Not incessant hours every night. Homework should be of a remedial reactive nature. Fight me!!!" - hastingsnikcox

Wine Moms

Drink Drink Drink Drinking GIF by Cat & Nat Giphy

"Alcoholic moms."

"No, you don't NEED to bring wine to your daughters soccer game. It's not quirky. It's awful."

"Wine mom stuff on social media only strengthens it and makes it more popular." - DarthVerona

"I didn't realize how much alcoholism slips under the radar because of wine mom stuff until I quit drinking. It's everywhere." - blankspacefood

"Ugh, the whole "mommy juice" thing makes me cringe. If parenting is honestly that difficult and stressful for you, you're doing it wrong." - suchlovelylilacs

"My SIL does this all the time and she thinks she's being cool af. Recently it's come to light that's she's an alcoholic." - OtherComparison

That's Not Romance. That's Cheating

the notebook love GIF Giphy

"Cheating. Sooo many 'love stories', or just any sort of romance movie released these days have cheating involved."

"It's always branded as this romantic thing to do. 'Oooo look at this dark and brooding handsome guy. Time to sleep with him and forget about my 2 year relationship!' or some sh*t like that."

"It's not romantic, it's cheating. And it's just wrong, and it should not be normalized." - VolcanicIron

"Example: The Office Jim and Pam."

"Pam had a boyfriend! Granted not a great one one, but that doesn't warrant cheating at all." - Aleasaurus

"I always hate the movies where the girl is seeing two guys at once (and it's not something they're all aware of and agreed to) cause she 'just can't decide.' "

"Then at the end she's like 'I choose you!' and then the guys supposed to be grateful even though she was seeing another dude the whole time" - Jack1715

Just Try Harder

try harder episode 12 GIF by The Bachelor Giphy

"That anything is possible if you try hard enough."

"Don't get me wrong - a lot is possible, but not eeeeeverything. There are factors beyond ourselves that determine our success. The best we can do is to give our best, and be happy that we've done so." - amarsupialmongoose

"This is also an important message for people with disabilities. We often hear something like 'You can do anything you could put your mind to, it just may be a little harder!' "

"No, that's not always true, and that's okay." - Jwalla83

"We tell kids they can be anything they want to be when they grow up, even an astronaut or The President - but job scarcity is real and we should be honest about it."

"I recognize the importance of that attitude on young kids: don't limit yourselves. But the truth is that there have only been 46 US Presidents and fewer than 1000 humans have gone to space." - Snoo74401

"Yes, exactly!"

"My son talked about being an astronaut on and off, but as he approached his teens, I finally leveled with him. I told him there was no way he was going to be an astronaut because he doesn't have perfect vision, so can't be a pilot in the armed forces to then get set on the very rarified path to get there."

"I also noted that if he was interested in space, there was a ton of stuff he could do and pointed out how the various rovers and probes and the like were doing far more these days than actual astronauts. There's so much potential for him to explore in the field that he can actually have a chance to do rather than waste his efforts striving towards something that is impossible."

"You don't want to discourage kids from dreaming or exploring their potential, but there's still a point where you need to balance that with a dose of reality. My five year old is never going to be a dragon anymore than my fourteen year old will be an astronaut, but I expect she'll figure that out on her own at some point before it becomes an issue. ;)" - TheFyrebird

"Telling people they can do anything if they just try harder is good in spirit, but absolutely toxic in effect. People learn to beat themselves up for not succeeding." - Fluid_reference

Now that we've read all the way through, I'm going to go get a mug of hot cocoa and stare pensively off into the distance while I think about all the ways I'm pretty sure some of this stuff has sabotaged my life.

Hmm. Time to process some things.

Photo by UX Gun on Unsplash

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