I'm hoping Chris will never be normal. I think there is a fairly good chance of that, given the strange journey he's been on up until now. He should capitalize on this experience, not try to bury it. Let me explain. What I am about to say sounds terribly trite, because we have all heard it before. Can Chris's and my incredible journey up to now be reduced to one banal thought in my head that it's better to be somewhere else than swimming along in the mainstream?
Life is too short to want to fit in, to be normal, to be like the next guy. It's being somewhat abnormal that will get you an interesting life. Sure, I would like Chris to be independent in an area of his choosing, but it's when human beings stick their neck out, or learn to be themselves, not a copy of who they would like to be, that they have an authentic life. To me, this is good mental health. When you cherish abnormal, you begin to cultivate the brilliance of the personality struggling under the weight of wanting to fit in with social norms.
Chris was so "normal" in his early life that he threatened to extinguish himself, which, thankfully, around the age of nineteen he, in fact, did. He was literally fading away before my eyes -- no opinions, no professed talents, no passions or enthusiasms, no color in his cheeks. I wonder if teachers even remember who he was beyond a pale blond boy in a class photo. Teachers remember the risk takers, not the risk averse.
Having extinguished himself, Chris began a long journey to be where he is today, still in the process of becoming an authentic personality, but a personality he is in fact becoming. His voice has temperament behind it. His spoken thoughts are turning towards opinions. His life is taking on a direction I don't even know where it's headed, but it's headed somewhere. He is no longer adrift.
If we, too, are aware, some of the sparkle of our relative's journey will rub off on us. We all have star power.