I have a bad relationship with the word “Normal.” I’m not sure what it means anymore or maybe it’s simply because I never quite fit into the tidy box that word suggests.
“Normal” seems to imply “going back to how things were” in a way that suggests it’s “better.”
Of course, that makes me really nervous. “Better” than what?
I’m now in my mid 60’s, I’ve lived through a lot of so-called attempts at social and political “normalization.” It…wasn’t pretty. In fact, a lot of it was pretty unenlightened and well…just plain stupid. For a long time, we didn’t have the internet. So, all we knew was what the people around us, told us. It took courage to live by our own convictions with no one “liking” what we believed in, but ourselves.
Normal, by its very definition means “conforming to a standard.” Even more cringe-worthy are the synonyms “ordinary, typical, common, conventional, habitual, everyday….”
Sure, I get that we’d all like to put Covid behind us and we so miss those lost because of it.
However, sadly, I still only represent half this country that doesn't even acknowledges that it’s real and I’m still in the minority when it comes to the ideas of “tolerance and kindness.”
So, until we are all united behind the idea of true humanitarianism, the word “New Normal” scares me because it leaves no room for me, as an individual.
We are at a time in our evolution where we have enough knowledge at our disposal to know what’s right and what’s wrong for ourselves, and all its complex shades of gray. We have actual historic documentation that intolerance doesn’t work, lies are dangerious and up-to-date proof that democracy is fragile. So, what we now believe is not “normal” by standard definition, but, in fact now, simply personal “choice and opinion.”
In a way that’s a very good thing. It’s rattled a lot of cages and brought long, overdue issues (especially human rights) to the forefront.
Look…we know in our hearts that “All men are created equal.” It’s actually written in the bible we’re all supposed to take as truth and the constitution on which this very country was founded.
Now we just have to decide if we like that or not. While half this country still doesn’t, I’m ditching the word “Normal” from my vocabulary once and for all. Bah-bye now!
The life I have planned for myself no longer is about mass approval, its symbols or its benchmarks. I tried that too and it didn’t work either. LOL
For me, fame was a total pain in the ass, and wealth did nothing but complicate my life.
So, the one I’m planning now, (as many of you are, because of COVID) is all about having the courage to embrace simplicity and authenticity more than ever before. It’s the only way I can determine what moves forward with me in my new life, and what I must finally let go of for good.
Some of what has to stay behind, I will miss …for a while. Old habits die hard.
I’ll miss the naivety that we all shared. Come to find out, it did once take a village that’s no longer there, even if it came with impossible judgments and ideals I could never live up to or was ever part of.
I’ll missed outward “approval.” It felt good and I craved it. Now I’m suspicious of it as I go within for a different kind of approval called “Self-acceptance.” The more I can accept myself, the more tolerant I’ll be towards others. The more I accept all of my life thus far, the more I can chart a new course that pushes me beyond my comfort zone(s) to see life as an opportunity to learn new things about myself that I didn’t know before. That’s exciting as hell to me.
So many of your recent emails to me have thanked me for giving you permission to set aside the old normal and begin to live like you really mean it. When in truth, I’ve been preaching it for years. Only now has it been confirmation to what you knew deep down, but has only surfaced now, during your time in isolation.
So many of you have told me that you finally took the velvet ropes down in rooms once only reserved for ghost guests. Or, you’ve reallocated square footage once only set aside for ‘family’ who you only saw maybe three times a year? In short, many of you are proof that the new normal is no normal at all.
So, let’s not try to being back that which no longer applies. Let’s stop postponing the lives we deserve NOW, because of what total strangers or those who only know how to love us “conditionally”, think. At least not under our own private roofs, in the rooms that need to pamper, feed our souls, spark our curiosity and reignite our imaginations more than ever before.
Often, the idea that our lives are now our own, scares us. Sometimes being self-contained or self-sufficient even seems somehow selfish to us. Without the social barometers we once relied on, how do we know if the outcome will be what we hope?
Honey, we don’t! Period. We never did. If that were the case, then we would not have needed this thing called “faith.”
This is not to suggest that faith is any easier to access than creativity, even though both are essentials, inherent to our very genetic humanness. Faith and creativity are only rekindled through sincere trial and error, self-reflection and experimentation. In fact, it’s quite possible to possess both without ever actually using these life changing tools conscientiously. It takes a lot of U-turns, a lot of detours and a lot of “what WAS I thinking,” before “creativity” and “faith” become new “default” positions.
Until then, we have to focus on what we know for sure, isn’t working.
We know that half of what we own, is probably no longer relevant in our lives.
We know for sure that while there may be 500 things in our closet, that we really only wear about 20 things ---tops.
We know that what’s piled where our automobile was supposed to be parked, are things we will never use again.
We know that all that stuff in the linen closet that we push aside to find a place to put the two or three sheet sets we always use, shouldn’t be there.
We know that the space under our sinks should not be the Bermuda Triangle but we’re too tired to do anything about it.
We know that the 25 almost-empty condiment jars on our refrigerator door shouldn’t be there.
We know that 50% of what’s crammed into our kitchen cupboards haven’t seen the outside world since we moved in.
We know that because of our smartphone, almost 100 % of the reference books or records, are no longer needed or up to date. (I had shelves of cookbooks that I hadn't opened in years since I now can google thousands of menu options WITH comments).
Need I go on?
My point being, is that we might not have enough clarity to fully imaging a new life for ourselves right now, but we can at least start to make space for the possibilities of a new one. Because, in the act of doing something as simple as purging, we are in fact, creating positive change far more than we think!
While we sort through dresser drawers, attics and basements, we’re actually making positive, creative changes because we’re rechoosing what our new life essentials are with conscientious intent. Or at the very least...what our new essentials are not!
So, lets start there. Get out the trash bags, crank up the music or, put on Netflix and get the ball rolling. Pray that we’ll never be anything close to “normal” (new or otherwise) again. That’s what got us in trouble the last 50 times!
We have to get rid of the stuff from the old normal to make room for the life we didn’t think we’d get…but really want now.
You can do it!
Bye for now….