Beware of the normal

Published on 
3 min, 575 words

Categories: life

It is easy to take things and people for granted.

When I was four years old my family moved from the edge of London to Devon. This was a pretty big move and a complete culture change - although as I was only four, I didn't know this at the time.

London is obviously a city whereas Devon, in the south west of England, is countryside, moorland and some of the best beaches in the UK; almost a complete opposite.

Growing up here meant that I could see fields and sheep from the window every day. At the end of the road I could see the sand dunes of Braunton Burrows in the distance. The nearest beach was ten minutes away. My favourite beach, Woolacombe, with three miles of sand was only about twenty minutes away.

When I was growing up I thought all this was normal and the problem with "normal" is that it is easy to take it for granted.

When I left university I got a job to the north of London and have lived there ever since - there were very few computer jobs in Devon and remote working was not an option back then. My parents still live in the same house I grew up in - in fact I am writing this from there as I am visiting at the moment.

It is only after I moved away that things changed. I developed a new "normal" and realised how different my growing up was and how lucky I was having all the beaches and countryside on my doorstep. I really appreciate everything when I am there now.

It is also easy to take other things for granted. It was only once I had kids that I grew to appreciate everything my parents did. At the time you sort of don't realise all the small things they do to make a family function. You look back and remember all the big things like holidays and important events but you forget all the tasks like washing and cleaning, the making of packed lunches, the driving to football matches that actually made all the difference.

I am fortunate that both my parents are still alive and I definitely don't take that for granted. It is why I am writing this from Devon - I am making sure that I spend time with them. Yes, I will probably go for some walks and visit a beach but it is more about the small things - the spending time with them and talking - not forgetting these little details and experiences and not taking things for granted.

And then you come to my family. It is easy to take a spouse for granted. There is a lot my wife does that I don't see or don't take notice of of. She has to put up with me for a start.

In September my daughter will be heading to university. It is easy at the moment to forget this and assume that it is a long time away and not make the effort to savour the time we have with her before she moves away. It is easy to take the current situation for granted. I have to stop and think and make sure that I really appreciate what I have and make a conscious effort to focus on it.

Beware of the "normal" and what it causes you to forget - the small details and the important things in life.