Seeking Normal – Day 11

Day 11 prompt:

How many variations of normal do you have in your life? For example today you may be happy or sad or ill – are they all “normal”?

My answer:

Interesting topic as it may be it about what is YOUR normal and my normal is obsession over diet and exercise and anxiety about things that others don’t even think about. This is MY normal. It is not what I embrace but it is what is true.

My normal makes me crazy as I just want to be free of a mindset that is always counting a calorie and pushing to be more disciplined but I am grateful deep down as it is what keeps me healthy. My normal also overthinks everything all the time. This has its pros and cons. It doesn’t allow for time to relax but it does force change.

I do check for “normal” in other areas of my life as I see conditions recurring I worry that those conditions look, from the outside, to be my normal. In the last year I have had a number of health problems and while I know they are not the norm, I worry that from someone else’s perspective it may appear that I am “not well” as a norm.

Last and worth mentioning is much like noted above in what my normal looks like from the outside, I like to be held accountable to “my normal” and find that when I share my intention, I create accountability to become my new norm. This is important as you decide to change your life. It takes work and time to make a habit a norm but by representing it as your normal; you have already pushed beyond a “want” as now it appears to be a need and so it is.

What is your norm? Be honest. Look from the inside and define normal but more importantly take the time to look from the outside. What does your normal look like from someone else’s perspective?

Life as I live it – L.

Seeking Normal – Day 9

Day 9 prompt:

People talk about the “new” normal. What was the “old” normal?

Did that label ever fit you?

My answer:

Well once again I could not have known when I wrote this prompt that I would one day be answering it in a world where the “new” normal is a daily condition. My “new” normal is working from home, seeing my grand-babies every single day or better yet as my husband reminded me today, spending more time with my spouse now than in the 24 years we have been married! Ha!

So what was the “old” normal; well the obvious answer would be the world as we knew it. Working weekdays, lounging weekends, socializing with friends and family and sometimes so routine that it felt like a dreadmill that we called “life”. Now I get the benefit of looking back and wishing for that “dreadmill” of “life”. There is something about deprivation that makes you want back what you took for granted so easily before.

If I am being honest with myself the “new” normal has become the “old” normal that I did not like. I always preferred weekdays as I found my life more routine and my habits more disciplined. Weekends lacked structure and a sense of urgency and now my “new” normal is like a never-ending weekend. I mean, it is different, it is more chaotic, it is more, simply put it is “more”. There is no break, because the environment stays the same 24/7. I am less health-conscious which is so ironic because I certainly have the time to do more; exercising is doable, eating right is accessible and yet I am doing neither. Why?

“New” normal, “old” normal; what does it really matter? Well it does because normal is truly defined as, “the usual, average, or typical state or condition” and in this world nothing is usual, nothing is average, nothing is typical and the only state we are in at this point is a state of stillness to the point of stupor. Those that are truly among the disciplined maintain their “normal” despite the environment and that is what I now long for; that is my new goal. Better said, I choose to create a normal that is neither “new” or “old” but expected despite the environment.

Wishful thinking for a “new” normal – L. (HA!)

Seeking Normal – Day 7

Day 7 prompt:

Is your normal the same as someone else’s? Why? How do you separate the expectation? How does someone else’s normal inspire, intimidate or disappoint you?

My answer:

I like this prompt as much of what makes something normal is that it is what everyone else has, does or is. The very act of getting up every morning, going to school or work, coming home having dinner and adhering to a bedtime is “normal” because it is what most people do. That routine is what has set the expectation for normal for most of us. If others don’t do these things that we see as commonplace then they or it is “not normal”.

When we shift the conversation to how someone else’s normal inspires, intimidates or disappoints us it requires the acknowledgement that their normal is NOT ours but we see it as “theirs” because it is something they do routinely. I am inspired by others that create their normal around things that I realize take huge discipline. Waking up at 4 am to get a workout in, is inspiring because it takes discipline beyond what I choose because of comfort-level. Conversely I am disappointed only by those whose normal does not serve them, and those around them, positively. When we see those that are living a life that causes them or others around them “harm” it is disappointing.

I have seen more social media posts in the last weekend about “what is normal” as we were all faced with our first holiday during this pandemic. Easter was not at all what most considered “normal” because we were not supposed to go to church or gather for family dinners. However it is/was still possible to create an alternative holiday that inevitably will create a new normal or a fond memory. We will always look back and remember “that” Easter we were in our homes and not able to get out to do those things that we consider holiday protocol.

For now I hope that as you are exploring this “new normal” that you are finding the parts of it that you appreciate, enjoy or are finding a refreshing change to carry-on with long after life returns to “normal”. This time would be wasted if we did not pay attention to those things that we are learning along this journey.

Life as I live it – L.

Seeking Normal – Day 6

Day 6 prompt:

Contentment is a state of being but how does it relate to normal? Is “normal” having routines or is it simply being satisfied with our state of being at that moment? Is it wrong to long for contentment beyond this moment? Is this where lacking gratitude begins?

My answer:

This is a heck of a prompt as the more I have researched the more I realize that contentment is more about gratitude for what you have and who you are in life in general. Normal is the routine or what is commonplace for you and a shared commonality for the masses. I think as it is written the prompt confuses the two.

Where I think the two can merge is to create the “normal” or routines in your life that creates contentment. If I am working daily to become more content then one begets the other.

As I often do I researched and found the following as a great guide to pass on to be content:

  1. Practice Gratitude
  2. Take control of your attitude
  3. Break the buying habit
  4. Stop comparing yourself to others
  5. Help others
  6. Be content with what you have, never with what you are

#6 got my attention as it seemed counter intuitive however as it was described it noted, “Contentment is not the same as complacency. As soon as you stop growing, you start dying.” The idea is that there is always room for improvement.

Funny as it may seem I also researched a list to offer on “how to be normal” and actually found something to share:

  1. Become more open-minded.
  2. Surround yourself with people you like.
  3. Love unconditionally.
  4. Do what you love.
  5. Realize that bad things happen to everyone.
  6. Learn how to forgive yourself.

Interesting lists as they are great to remind us how to create contentment and normal in your own life. I guess the prompt might have been better stated, “Is it normal to feel content” and the easy answer is not right or wrong it is more of an evaluation of where you are in the moment that you are answering that question.

I hope that this exploration of “seeking normal” is helping you to understand where you are today and where you wish to be in the future. The way you spend the time today will define your normal and ultimately if you will ever find contentment in the future.

Life as I seek it – L.

Seeking Normal – Day 5

Day 5 prompt:

Why is normal even a “thing”? Does “normal” really exist? In what context have you used it in your life?

My answer:

Normal is how we describe life as it is agreed upon. Normal life is sleeping at night, working during the day, having a job, weekday, weekends, grocery shopping, cleaning, going to school… These are the things that we all take for granted as what “normal” looks like in our daily lives. Normal creates acceptance of a norm which creates common-ground.

Normal is a learned response that starts in childhood. If as a child you started everyday with breakfast at the table with the family that is YOUR normal while mine was a bowl of cereal alone before I walked to the bus stop. Both are “normal”, different as they are there is common ground in breakfast being that norm regardless of the routine that surrounds it. My normal did not include church on Sunday’s however it was normal for many of my friends and so I was exposed to their normal when I would spend a weekend with a friend and attend church. It felt “out of the norm” while I enjoyed it and longed for it as my own norm. It is in those experiences that I was given option to make new a new “normal” for myself.

To answer the prompt directly –

  • Normal is a “thing” because we are creatures of habit and normal is typically a series of habits we practice daily.
  • Normal does exist for each and every one of us and then collectively there are routines and ideas of normal that we agree on as a species, world, family or individually.
  • The context in which I have used “normal” in my life is to create the “normal” that serves to create a life that I want to live and not necessarily that I have lived. It is an acceptance of routines and habits that take time to adapt but when they come naturally normal has been realized.

What is your take on “normal” do you use it to define your life or to call out those that don’t follow the norms?

My normal life as I live it according to my own norms – L.

Seeking Normal – Day 4

Day 4 prompt:

What is the normal I am longing for?

My answer:

This one is easy. I long for a day that I am not ridden with anxiety that I cannot define. I long for a day that I end the day feeling inspired and not exhausted. I long for a day when I feel like I know what tomorrow might offer and not fear it. I long for a day that I can invite all of my friends and family over for the fellowship that we are known for engaging friends from all corners of our universe.

In the meantime, I am enjoying the intimacy of being with my immediate family and feel blessed that we are so close in proximity that this part of life is uninterrupted. I am enjoying watching my family weather this crisis as it confirms that we did raise “them” right; they are fighters and it shows. I am enjoying the time at home, we have created a home that serves us and it is paying off. I am enjoying my work and the colleagues that I am blessed to connect with daily now. While I miss the many colleagues that are on leave, I know there will be a day when we will all be together again and that gives me hope but more important the passion to push hard to get them back to work!

Normal is a state of mind not a state of being, in my opinion. I am fortunate that I can switch gears quickly and relate to the state of mind required at that point in time. This has served me well in my life and certainly now as I am not as antsy to sprint out the door as many of my social media friends.

What is the normal that YOU are longing for? Share in the comments. Be honest and reveal as it comes to you mind; don’t analyze or overthink it!

Life as I long for it – L.

Something Sacred is at Stake

I have sat silent out of respect for the massive amount of loss all around us. Sickness, death, solitude, and desperation are everywhere. We are scared, tired, hopeless and terrified.

Time has lost all meaning; when does it end, how does it end…there are no answers. We have been given no choice but to sit, raw and vulnerable.
As I sat here tonight gutted from what I will one day remember as the hardest day in my career I found myself watching an at-home concert by one of my favorite musical artists of all time and there at exactly 25:00 minutes into his 32:49 minute set, there were the words; that I needed to hear. This is what I was supposed to offer to YOU my friends, family, and followers. My universe always delivers what I need exactly at the moment I need it and here were those words:

“All time is precious no matter where you are at; every moment something sacred is at stake.” – Gavin Rossdale

YES, this my friends is what it is all about!

I remember this very well as I sat by my mother’s bedside in her final days; time had no meaning and every single one of those final moments something sacred was indeed at stake. My bond to her, the bond that was breaking, attempting to leave me, prisoner, without a cell, bound by no one forevermore.

Today as I was moving through the moments there was not a moment that was not precious. This time it was not about life or death but it was an interruption of a partnership if only temporary…we are affected. A place in time where everything was changing for them and within me. In those moments, every reaction was sacred and we were reminded that while it is all business, it is always personal.

What we are going through will forever change us, as a society and personally. I will always remember those days next to my mother knowing what was at stake was the change in me and today as I attempted to meet myself where I was and be there, in the moment with colleagues that I revere and respect more than they can ever know, I knew then as I know now…

“I can be changed by what happens to me. But I refuse to be reduced by it.” – Maya Angelou

We as a society are being shaken, we are being tested and we are uncomfortable. However, ultimately remember that you STILL decide; you still have the same power you had yesterday, one week ago or even a year ago. You are still the YOU, you always were; everything around you will change but ultimately YOU decide.

With all of my love, adoration, and respect for anyone suffering through these uncertain times.

L.