I’ve recently spent some time thinking about these past few months – the highs and the lows, the successes, the missteps, the longing, and of course all of the challenges and changes. And throughout it all, my thoughts kept circling back to the word “normal.”
Normal. I’ve written about it (nine times in fact) (1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8 + 9), I’ve thought about it, I’ve read about it in the news, and I’ve talked about it with friends and family. New normal, old normal, normal normal, will normal return, what is normal – there has been a whole lot of “normal” talk in my life. And frankly, I’ve started to think that my overuse of the word was perhaps anything but. Which got me curious. What does normal even mean?
According to the Merriam-Webster online dictionary, normal is merely “conforming to a type, standard or regular pattern.” Or it can even mean “occurring naturally.” And just in case you are as curious as I was, synonyms include average, common, everyday, routine, ordinary, standard, unremarkable or even usual.
Usual. Huh. Life has felt anything but usual for the past two months. But I must admit that at the same time since this whole quarantine began, I do often describe my days as ordinary or unremarkable. Which in a sense would mean that they are normal. So this got me thinking.
What’s the point? I mean, who even really cares what normal is? Is there “a” normal? When my life changes, is it really worth lamenting that things used to be different at some other time? It’s like that saying goes, “you can’t see the forest for the trees.” If I focus my energy on being upset with the restrictions of the stay-at-home orders, and continue to talk about how not normal my life feels. . .well, then I will definitely miss out on all of the blessings, the silver linings, the God winks, and the multitude of opportunities.
So I’m letting go and I’m loosening the grips on anything “normal.” I’m putting my energy into just living in the here and now, and I’m pretty sure that this will most likely bring me a much greater sense of peace. And peace is the best kind of normal that I could hope for.