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Friday, March 2, 2012

To Be Normal or Not To Be Normal

To paraphrase William Shakespeare ... 
To be normal or not to be normal. That is the question.

After experiencing loss, a popular buzz word you may hear (used to try to help you to understand your new life circumstances) is “new normal.”

I believe to understand the new normal, you must first understand normal. However, let me ask you, “Who and what is considered normal these days?” I don’t think we can rely on Webster to define normal anymore. The dictionary says it is something that is usual, customary or ordinary.

You only need to look at Mother Nature to see the reflection of the absence of what is considered normal today. Think about how many times in the last few years that you’ve heard the weather forecasters say that we are experiencing unseasonably (read: abnormal) warm or cool weather. I know that one year I visited my sister in the northeast in January, and it was 60 degrees, and back home (in the southwest) it was in the thirties! You could categorize these new weather patterns that seem to be changing from year to year a new normal.

The truth is that normal is always in flux and, therefore, every day can be considered a new normal.

John Henry Newman said that “growth is the only evidence of life.” Consequently, every day as you learn new things, you adjust your normal. This is especially evident if you have small children. They grow and change at such a rapid pace that every day is certainly a new normal for them, and this keeps them in a constant state of awe. And as they change, you must also change how you respond to them.

Accepting every day as an opportunity to greet a new normal can make your life more rewarding. In fact, it can allow you to recapture the awe you experienced as a child, if you let yourself get excited about the new opportunities that lie in front of you.

It can also afford you the ability to take giant leaps toward your goals. By disdaining complacency (which you can do by regarding yourself as a work-in-progress or a person who is willing to make changes when new information is received and processed), you can escape what Albert Einstein defined as a state of insanity – which is doing the same thing repeatedly and expecting different results.

If life can be compared to a racing river – fluid and ever-changing – then complacency can be compared to a murky swamp that keeps you mired in one place.

Avoid stagnating in this swamp, which is a dark and negative place. Instead, ride the cycle of life where each new experience encountered is a state of new normal. Once adjustments are made, it simply becomes the norm. In actuality, if you are moving forward in life, it is simply a never ending cascade of a new normal becoming normal.

Release your uneasiness over greeting the many new normals to come. It is life in all its glory and your previous experiences have been preparing you for success.




2 comments:

  1. I love that you "normalized" the "new normal". Yes, to all you said. This is a term often used to describe the experience of life after cancer. We need language and common terms to communicate about what is going on for us however these same terms that facilitate communication can also have great limits. For some, the word "cancer survivor" inspires them. Others experience a feeling of being a victim in relation to that term.

    Personally, I cringe a bit around the word "normalize" as sounds like something is broken and needs to be fixed. What I love about your post is you created a universal way for us to view change - no matter what the root cause - loss, illness, aging, falling in love, having a baby. Our "normal" does change...and personally I am finally embracing and fully appreciating the new normal being a widow has opened up for me.

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  2. Normal. No way. I am me and that is unique. But your message is important and life is about keeping going and not being stuck in either grief or your own mortality.

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