What If This is the New Normal

When COVID was raging and we were all waiting impatiently for it to be over, like watching the Twin Towers get hit by a plane or watching our child hooked up to hospital equipment, this watching and waiting and feeling like it must all be a dream, surely, and when will it be over, when will I wake up…at some point, later, around the end of that first full year, many people began to ask, what if this is the new normal?

I stole it.

I stole the question.

What if this is the new normal?

I apply it to everything.

And it works to keep me going, moving forward.

For example, I had this gnarly rash, a “classic food allergy reaction” but the rash didn’t go away. It didn’t go away with a massively limited diet, it didn’t go away with topical creams, it didn’t go away with oral medication, it didn’t go away with a full dose of antibiotics. It remained undeterred and unchanged. It was there for three months before I broke down.

I asked myself, what if this is the new normal?

I stopped sleeping all the time (a reaction to the massive doses of Benadryl I was taking in order to continue breathing), I stopped sulking, I continued drinking the morning smoothie that didn’t alter the reaction at all but made me feel healthier. If this was the new normal, I wasn’t going to let it derail my life.

I don’t even remember when the rash finally went away. I’d decided it was the new normal and worked around it and then it was gone.

Reactions are what I call time sucks, and they exist everywhere and pup up constantly:

  • the kids want to join soccer
  • my husband wants to start a business
  • we need to buck wood or we won’t make it through winter

And constantly I have to remind myself that this reaction is the new normal.

If the kids being in soccer and needing to go to practice twice a week and games once a week is going to suck a minimum of eight hours of our week away every week forever (yes, soccer has a limited schedule, but let’s follow the bouncing ball) how do I incorporate it into my life without putting my life on hold?

The things we all have to remember when trying to achieve our goals are:

  • our families goals are just as important as our own
  • no ones life should be placed on hold, ever
  • we can all reach our goals, separately and together

There are a million metaphors for how we’re like houseplants, etc. but the bottom line is, the current goal is our new normal, make it work.

Take five minutes, right now, and

  1. close your eyes
  2. take a deep breath
  3. visualize the current reaction, really look at all the ways it causes problems
  4. look at how to work the reaction into your end goal in a daily way
  5. really see how tomorrow will look working the reaction in, now the next day
  6. write it down

I find it helpful at night, right before I fall asleep, to lay there and think of three things I’m grateful for from the current day, then visualize the next day from the moment I wake up to the moment I go to sleep. It often starts like this:

“I wake up around 5:30am after getting as much sleep as I need…”

Your current allergic reaction is your new normal. Are you going to sleep all day, or are you going to live your life?

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