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
- close your eyes
- take a deep breath
- visualize the current reaction, really look at all the ways it causes problems
- look at how to work the reaction into your end goal in a daily way
- really see how tomorrow will look working the reaction in, now the next day
- 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?