A thought occurred to me today as I watched my adorable wife randomly dancing a carefree (and quite unpredictable) little dance. After a minute she laughed and said, “Do you ever think about if other couples do things like this, just be silly or weird around each other? Or if most people are more normal?”
Honestly, yes, I think most couples do random goofy things around each other. Definitely, definitely, definitely–in private, wherever self-consciousness isn’t an issue, yes: EVERYONE does weird and carefree and goofy things.
I think there just aren’t “normal” people.
We think of the world as being full of “adults” who are “normal” and “mature” and do “sensible” things and aren’t “childish” or “silly.” But behind closed doors, I don’t think anyone is “normal.”
A well-spoken doctor suddenly reverts to high school when his buddy shows up. Chest-bumping, high-fiving, saying things like “my man” and “eeeyyyy” and “sick bro!”
A suit-wearing executive jumps and screams watching his favorite sports team in the postseason.
Or there’s someone like me, who can be found sitting alone, smiling and laughing out of sheer happiness as I read the wine-and-cheese book I got for Christmas. Cheese….. :)
And everybody dances. Or sings. Or just makes weird noises. Or uses goofy voices. At least when nobody’s around to watch.
Think of the person with whom you’ve had the most comfortable friendship in your whole life. Your best “buddy.” Maybe it’s your significant other. How weird and silly have you gotten when they’re the only person around? You just let it all hang out, childishness, mischievousness, laughter till your sides hurt, and all the silliness inside you.
Maybe there are some “adults” here and there who are “normal” and “mature” and never free their childlike side–never do any weird little dances. I’m afraid that in my experience with those types, it means they’re trying really hard to earn or prove something.
But I think for the most part, people who have found the freedom to just be themselves (at least when they’re with their safe few best friends) aren’t normal. They chase their significant other around the house, they make outrageously dumb puns, they pull strange stunts just to crack each other up, and they dance silly little carefree dances.
And there’s something happy and safe and relieving and inspiring about that. We’re all just people. Emotional, curious, excitable, goofy, sometimes childish people. Free.
Someone recently suggested I be more like Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson’s character from the hilarious movie Central Intelligence. He was picked on for being himself in high school. But when he grew up to be a cool, strong, intimidating bad-ass, he still shows up in a baby blue shirt with a colorful unicorn on it and the words Always Be You. “Unicorns are the most lethal animals on the planet,” he explains. Because he just. Doesn’t. Care.
Thinking today about how silly and false the idea of “normal” is, a couple close friends come to mind who just 100% lean into their happy energy. Sometimes they seem “weird” or “different.” But they’re the most loving, happy, supportive, people to be around. And their complete genuineness–their total lack of facade–makes them inspiring and freeing people to just be with.
I realize I want to be even more like them: Just myself. Just real. Nothing to prove. Nobody’s approval to earn. Carefree and silly. Just free.
How silly do YOU get when nobody else is watching?