What makes us what we are. What makes us do what we do; what makes us tick, so to speak. The old 'nature versus nurture' debate. Both what we inherit intellectually and our physical circumstances as we grow up obviously affect our development to a greater or lesser degree. I am not clever enough to pontificate scientifically on the subject. The only thing I will say is that we are obviously not born equal.
In the 21st century we like to put labels on everything, especially concerning 'medical' conditions that have probably been with us forever. Dyslexia comes to mind. Much better to be termed dyslexic than thick, slow or dozy, as was often the case in my childhood. OCD is a term frequently mentioned nowadays; I can still see people with OCD symptoms from my childhood in my 'minds eye'; though the term OCD was yet to be invented, certainly in our village. Presumably Autism has always been with us, albeit under another name. I had an aunt who used to 'wander' the village. We knew something was wrong; we called it 'old age', the term dementia was unheard of. I have a friend who is 'biopolar'. I have known him for many, many years; he used to be referred to as a manic depressive. In my school teaching days I taught many children who were successively referred to over the years as ESN's, Remedials or the Less Able.
Of any case, is there such a thing as normal. Different, maybe but nornal, surely it doesn't exist.
'Normal--conforming to the standard or the common type; usual; not abnormal; regular; natural.'
Amazing in a way, all these musings were brought about by a television programme I watched recently concerning the lengths some collecters/hoarders go to in their daily lives. One lady in particular caught my eye. She hoarded many things, particularly food. She had in the house/fridge/cupboards over 700 tins of food, some many years old. She had also many, many items of unworn clothing and a multitude of Christmas items including seven Christmas trees. The programme employs a psychologist who specialises in 'hoarders', a not uncommon occurrence. It was soon established that the lady in question had experienced a particularly deprived childhood, particularly where food was concerned. I experienced an extremely strong empathy with this lady.
I experienced a difficult though not unhappy childhood. I was born in the first year of the war, a time of real austerity and I was orphaned young. I can still vividly remember certain childhood possessions,: a Dinky toy lorry, a tiny cannon that fired matchsticks and a nine millimetre gun (that fired cartridges. Definitely not my style in later life); a stopwatch (a 'swap' if I remember right which I promptly dropped), a second-hand bike and a subbuteo set. All these and more of no great monetary value but important to me. Partly, somewhat obviously because I and many children like me had little; what we did have we valued.
Four years ago I bought a bungalow. It had an outbuilding 'going spare'. I instinctively knew what it was to be. It is now 'Granddad's Bar' a geriatric bolthole in which I write, ponder and let the world go by. You might be interested in the 'decor'. You know the modern term 'minimalist'. Well my 'bar', minimalist it certainly is not! The psychologists would have a field day! And do you know what, I don't care. Plus it certainly isn't finished yet, there's plenty more room if you look carefully; the ceiling's untouched for a start!