Enjoy your new normal

Life is change. From the time you’re born until the time you die, change is a constant.
Actually, change is the only constant!
Some changes are small and inconsequential, like when your exercise room is closed for a month for renovations. Other changes are monumental–changing your whole life experience–like the death of a spouse.
When my husband died six months ago, that was a life-altering experience, requiring completely new life patterns and resulting in what we now call the “new normal.”
The English language always is changing. Think about these words and phrases: bytes, 911, e-mail, the space age, terrorists, fax, and robots. And in my lifetime: jets and Sputnik.
One phrase that’s recently slipped into the vernacular is “new normal.”
When I asked people what it meant and where it came from, most just shook their heads. But one smart person replied, “It means just what it says–the new normal.”
The phrase actually originated in the financial sector and the concept is explained in the 2004 book, “The New Normal” by Roger McNamee. It now is applied to everything from knee surgery to moving to a new residence or a starting a new exercise regime.
As I said, my new normal began six months ago. Partially it was thrust upon me. But mostly I had to choose what my new normal would look like. Would it include feeling sorry for myself or would it be the beginning of a meaningful chapter in my ongoing life?
I had to choose.
Since I’m a very social person, what bothered me most in my new normal was seeing fewer people. In recent years, my husband had moved his basement office to a corner of the living room. He always was at the computer writing.
And several times a week, he would have friends and former students in to discuss ideas.
I miss those times. And on top of that, Howard and I went to the exercise room five days a week, where we met new people and became reacquainted with old friends.
Since I am handicapped, that also ended.
So, obviously, I had to institute new patterns. In addition to my regular friends, who visit faithfully, my brother, Jim, now comes every Thursday morning while my much younger friend, Jeannine, comes Monday afternoons.
I set up some new traditions, like going to “chicken night” at Water’s Edge on the first Thursday of each month with friends. And, importantly, I also joined a strength training class where I have fun exercising with other people.
That’s what it means to shape your “new normal.” It’s imperative that you form a new life that fits your lifestyle and needs right now.
A life that you will enjoy.
So whenever you are thrust into a new reality (large or small), remember that it’s up to you to choose your response. Change is always hard, but you can deal with it.
Watch for the positive possibilities and embrace your new normal.
Marie Snider is an award-winning health writer and syndicated columnist. Write her at thisside60@cox.net

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