The new normal

December 9, 2012

photo taken in Morocco

How many times in life do we have to adjust to the “new normal?”
When life gets turned upside down and we’re dealt an unfamiliar hand 
that changes life forever in ways we don’t like?
Stop! I want my old life back!
We think it, we feel it, we scream it.

But there’s a new direction now and no stopping.
Can’t go back.
It’s happened to all of us, I think,
to a greater or lesser degree.

If we lose a loved one, a spouse leaves,
our health changes, our circumstances are different–
the details don’t matter.

Life changes forever.
The old ways no longer apply and the new ways chafe and bind. 
We try to shake them off, deny them, refuse to accept them.
But facts is facts, as they say, and there ain’t no two ways about that.
It’s helpful to understand that grieving the old order of things
 is like any other kind of grief. 
We go through the inevitable stages, starting with denial.
We fight it. 
This can’t be happening, we think.
No. Not. Happening.

We try our best to force today into yesterday
and it just won’t work.

When it becomes clear that the situation isn’t going to change, 
denial is replaced by anger.
Why is this happening to me?

We rail against circumstances.
We’re pissed.

Anger is normal.
Bargaining is the next stage, either with God or ourselves.  
“Please God, I’ll never….”  or the many “what if” questions we ask ourselves.
If only I had done this or hadn’t done that.

I know someone who accidentally took a loved one’s life.
I’m certain that not a day goes by in their life without an
if only
When we can no longer deny the truth, 
when the anger has faded and bargaining gets us nowhere, 
that’s when depression hits.

And why shouldn’t we be depressed?
We’re having to face changes we just don’t like.

And then, finally, if we can get there, we accept the new normal. 
Doesn’t mean we’re ok with it, just that we recognize 
that things are the way they are and there is no way around it.  
If we’re lucky, we reach make peace with life as it is today.
Because really, there is no other choice.

We’re not in charge, not really.
Oh, God gives us the illusion of control
and calls it free will, but the plan is set,
that’s what I believe.

And maybe we don’t understand it.
When sad or bad things happen
it’s hard to get the lesson.
But somewhere, there is one.

I’m thinking about the new normal a lot
these days. Aging can be a bitch and
watching my friends and loved ones cope
with their changed circumstances
is a real eye opener.

Because I know my day will come.

We can’t get our old lives back,
but we can choose to live the days left in our book
with joy and grace.
It won’t be the same as when we were young
and healthier.

But we can make sure we live our very best lives
at any age
in any circumstance.

And know that what comes next is beyond our wildest,
most wonderful

8 comments on “The new normal
  1. compostmoi says:

    Terrific blog post, Carol… Really terrific!

  2. compostmoi says:

    Terrific blog post….resonated deeply in me…xx

  3. Thanks. This is such a different age … so many changes! oxox

  4. When I first started to read this I thought it was going to be about aging and I thought, we MUST stop wishing to be THAT age again. We must embrace the age we are. But after reading, I see that’s not the direction you were taking. I like how you discussed loss of lifestyle or people, and said we grieve. We sure do!

  5. Anonymous says:

    I needed to read this today. Your message was sent from above.

  6. Anonymous says:

    I’m not concerned with going back to a time, but can I wish to get on to the next step/phase without feeling guilty wishing now were behind me?

  7. Jennifer Comet Wagner says:

    You are so right. What happened happened and whats done is done.

  8. Excellent post! Were it not for God’s grace and love, I would be a mess!

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