Apparently, January blog posts contain similar things across the web: analysis of the previous year, new resolutions for the coming year, or both.
We try to evaluate where we have been, where we want to be, and what we can do now to find our way on the journey between the two. Not everyone does this evaluation in a formal way, but we all at some point notice the changes that come and go in our lives.
Because life means change!
Both good changes and difficult changes are the way we grow. We marvel at how quickly children develop new life skills, and we lament how fast time goes when we want to accomplish more than we have time for in our older years. As seasons of life change, we change.
And just when we get into a new routine, something changes again. Change is often out of our control, like the seasons or the economy. Sometimes others cause our changes. Children come and go, coworkers leave, family members get sick. Sometimes change comes with our own choices. We go to school, get married, have children, change jobs, or move.
And with each change we need time to re-find a balance to life, a new normal.
At my house, 2016 became filled with medical appointments, emergencies, and follow-ups, replacing our regular routine of work and church. 2017 looks like it will include some of the same types of activities, along with re-integrating our work and church activities. Our priorities, time-management, and financial decisions will change. We will find a new normal.
I feel like I have been looking for “normal” my whole life. I have felt a step or two off what others consider “normal.” I do not always respond to things the way others expect. When I talk, others often look at me like I’m speaking Greek.
I understand why…
– enduring childhood sexual abuse changed me. I was different than other kids, and it was a struggle to learn what “normal” looked like at school, because my home life was not the same as other homes. When I grew up, I was different than other parents. Choosing to raise my family away from other family changed me, and my children too. Normal is not experienced in a vacuum, it touches those around us.
– battling cancer changed me; not just living with concern about recurrence, but deciding what is the best treatment for me, like finally choosing to remove and not replace my breasts, even though society seems to put emphasis on women needing cleavage.
– watching the man I love battle his own cancer has also changed me. Facing the possibility of his death coming sooner rather than later, and being at peace with that, changed me. Mankind tries to avoid thoughts of mortality, so thinking beyond earthly life causes change. We consider what our legacy will be.
While everyone will at some time experience joy and pain in their lives, my various life experiences make my normal unique, different from others even if they may have experienced the same circumstances.
I have a different “normal” than you, and you have a different “normal” than me – so the good news is, we are all normal!
Finding our new normal when change occurs can be disconcerting, or it can be an adventure. I choose to continue to change, to grow, to embrace, and to become my new normal.
photos CCO licensing courtesy of Pixabay.com
Marnie writes from northern British Columbia. She shares from her heart, drawing from both painful and joyful life experiences, where she believes God's presence makes all the difference.