I am painfully aware that I am not the average man in his late twenties. I’m not talking about my above-average height or weight, but I’m talking personality-wise.

Where most men my age are trying to live up their final days of youth by partying, drinking, and doing crazy things, I’m the kind of guy who would rather stay home and watch TV, play a game, or–and this is what I really want to do–write.

I’m reminded of my abnormality all the time when I see others–many twice my age–doing all those “young people” things that I “should” be doing. I hate to say no when the missus wants to go dancing, but the truth is that I HATE dancing at nightclubs even more.

It’s hard to force myself to do things like this, but that’s part of being “normal”, right? So I put on a smile and go out of my way to do the things asked of me so that I can maintain friendships, keep up with appearances, and avoid offending people.

But the truth is that my situation is not unique. Sure, the combination of challenges I face are definitely unique to me, but that doesn’t mean I am alone in my struggle to be “normal”. Everyone has that same struggle.

Everyone fights to keep up with the things that others think they “should” do with their time or their lives, even if it means going against the things they want to do. It’s why so many people look so bored at the myriad bars, clubs, and “hot spots” around town. 90% of them would rather be anywhere else and doing anything else, but they are forced to be there just to appear “normal” to the people around them.

But what is YOUR normal? Is it sitting at home on a Friday night and writing your latest short story, or is it driving to a firing range and shooting at practice targets? Would you rather be at home watching TV instead of at the club, or would you prefer to be enjoying a meal with friends?

Don’t let other people dictate what your “normal” is or should be. If they are truly your friends, they will accept what your normal really is, and they will love you despite the myriad oddities and quirks that make you who you are. You are the only one who can decide what your normal is!