What is Normal Anyway?
For months now, I’ve been hearing so many people talk about “getting back to normal.”
They say things like, “I can’t wait for things to be normal again.” “I am over the fear mongering” “I don’t want to wear a mask anymore.” “I want my store shelves to be stocked!” And so many other comments.
I am sure you’ve heard it too.
We are all struggling through this uncertain times.
This got me thinking about normal.
What exactly is normal anyway?
Webster’s defines normal as conforming to a type of standard or regular pattern. It is characterized by that which is considered usual, typical or routine.
This might include normal working hours, normal circumstances, normal days, normal childhood, normal news, normal conversations and normal life.
Well, I think we can all agree, most of our “normality” has been greatly challenged over the past 20 months.
People no longer go to their office to work. You need to prove you’re vaccinated to eat or see a show. The news is no longer unbiased or truthful. Conversations revolve around the unimaginable-like school shootings and disease. Life is anything but normal. At least, not my normal.
One thing I know for sure is the only thing that stays the same is change.
So, have we changed?
For the better?
For the worse?
Will life ever go back to the way it used to be?
Likely, no. And that’s ok.
Ram Dass, an American spiritual teacher says, “The truth is circumstantial. We must strive each day to live in our truth.”
Truer words have never been spoken.
What was true today might not be true tomorrow. Right?
Today you’re married, tomorrow you’re divorced.
Today you’re healthy, and tomorrow you have cancer.
Today there is no pandemic. Tomorrow, there is a global crisis.
How we respond to this type of unexpected change often dictates the outcome. If we keep living expecting everything to go back to the way it was pre-pandemic, we are holding on to a false hope. It’s not happening.
We are different. And we will continue to evolve. Since the pandemic started, all of us have had to evolve in so many ways just to retain some normality, people have transitioned from an office to working from home, even setting up a backyard office to get work done, and children are learning via digital platforms and we are giving people a wide berth. Things are changing, and some of these changes may stick around as we adapt.
If normal is conforming to a type of standard or pattern, then normal must be fluid. As life changes, so does our sense of normal. When our routines change, our life changes. Think about working out. When you are in the routine of working out several times a week, that becomes your normal pattern. When you go on vacation and take a few weeks away from the gym, that changes your normal, right? Most people adapt, get back to it and before they know it, they’re back to their normal routine. They tend to read up on recent blog post about exercises and sets they can incorporate, set new targets and goals for themselves, and soon, they are back to their daily grind. It’s a manageable cycle, one that we control.
In many ways, I think where we are these days is a lot like having to get back to the gym. Some might not want to or don’t feel ready yet. And that’s completely understandable. Others are chomping at the bit to get back to what they know. Finding our way out of the fog sometimes takes time. The fog must lift before we can really take off and fly. We just aren’t there yet.
So be patient. Don’t be hard on yourselves. Take some time to define your new normal and then live it.
You can’t change the tide, but you can learn to surf. So, let’s figure out each day as it comes. Maybe that is our new normal. And that’s fine by me.
What’s something you do now that wasn’t a part of your normal routine? What do you miss in your life? Share your thoughts with me below.