Monday, July 2, 2012

New Normal

I find it interesting that so often I'm thinking, "I can't wait until things get back to normal."  In a recent Facebook discussion, I learned that things most definitely won't get back to the old normal, but they will get to a new normal.  What a concept.  I'm still trying to figure it out.

Sometimes I get caught up in thinking I should be able to get everything done; I shouldn't be interrupted; I should be able to leave the house without making special arrangements; I should be able to get up at 6 a.m. when my husband does; the house should stay clean; I should be able to walk enough that I can eat whatever I want; I should be able to exercise, too; I should be able to ponder and meditate and be all spiritual.  Sure, these are things that once were, but I need to get used to the new normal -- that I'm going to be really tired a lot of the time; that I won't get much accomplished; that meals just won't be as nice as they once were; that I can't really leave the house; that maybe these last 5-10 pounds just won't go away; that I'm really going to have to fight for my spirituality, etc.

I'm not so sure I want to accept the new normal, but it's reality. 

Sometimes I feel like I'm in a nightmare:  I'm on the ground in a hurricane (the hurricane of crying babies, sleepless nights, messy house, body aches, and interruptions), and there is a helicopter above me that has let down a rope to rescue me. Sometimes I get a handle on the  rope, sometimes I can only smack it, and other times it's just out of reach.  When I try and grab the rope to get away, it gets yanked away from me because the helicopter is blown in the gusts or the mud slips from under me and I fall. Sometimes I feel like it's my kids in the helicopter trying to rescue me, but at the same time they're laughing at me conspiring to wake up at different times throughout the night.  It's odd that the kids are there to rescue me, yet they're the ones causing my troubles.

I think that's where the adjustment needs to come in.  I don't think the kids are really the problem; it's my expectation of normal.  The kids really are wonderful, and I forget that I'm here to teach them, and all those things I WANT are just going to have to fit in later or some other way.

I've been doing some research on an ancestor lately (center, front).  She was born in 1839.  She married into polygamy in her teens (her older sister was the first wife).  After the older sister had her 5th baby, she died leaving all the kids with my ancestor.  My ancestor then had 3 of her own kids (the boy and girl on the left in the picture), but then her oldest died as well as one of her sister's girls.  Soon after that, her husband died in his mid-30s.  My ancestor was only about 25!  She was a widow with 6 kids!  Do you think life was hard?  I can't even imagine.  I shouldn't even be complaining about my life.  Heck.  I didn't even have my first kid until I was 27!

What I've learned, though, was that even though her life was REALLY, REALLY hard for a time, it did get better.  She didn't have helicopter-hurricane nightmares, she actually faced hunger, isolation, and loss somewhat regularly.  However, the kids grew up, she learned, she served, she traveled, and she wasn't so financially pressed.  When she died in her late 80's, life was pretty good, I'd guess. 

<pep talk> So, I've got to keep my eye on the bigger picture.  I need to adjust to the new normal -- the normal that is always changing with each paragraph in my chapter of raising young children.  Life will change; it won't go back to what it once was, but it can become normal.</pep talk>


Emily said...

Has Segullah been reading my blog?

Emily said...

And this one was great, too!

Anonymous said...

I'm working to find that new normal, too... I think it's a constant growth/change thing! Just like the seasons of the year change, and there's something great about every single one, right? (Of course, there's also something realistically dreadful about every season, too.... :D )

Mama Rachel said...

We must be on the same wavelength lately. This post fit perfectly with what I've been feeling today! I woke up this morning worried about my kids who are entering Young Adulthood, about my shortcomings, and wondering if I will ever be able to do anything right.

But I'm realizing that I'm just in the middle of another Transition, a new season of life! And while that's not easy or fun, it will become the "New Normal."

THANK YOU for helping me put that into words today. I think I'll sleep better tonight, seeing this time of life with new eyes.


Bonnie Atkinson said...

Emily, a few months ago Virginia Hinckley Pearce gave a fireside in our stake. She talked about thinking at one time in her life that it would get easier. Then one day not long ago she was going through her dead husband's stuff, and her dead parents' stuff, and her dead in-laws' stuff and she was overwhelmed. It didn't get easier; it just got different hard.

I've found this true in my life. I'm 45. I spent my teens schooling and in my first marriage, which ended when I was 20. I was a single working parent for 5 years, then spent the next decade having 5 kids in 5 years and being divorced and alone again. Everything was hard. Everything crashed around my head at one time or another. I felt that helicopter many times.

Now, it's hard again, differently. I have come to embrace letting go of my expectations. Every blasted one of them. Each new day is a new day to learn something, to serve someone, to be quiet and loving. Attachment is the root of all sorrow.

I don't think it's about appreciating that someone else's hard is harder, because that's competitive. I think it's about appreciating that right where you are is exactly where you're supposed to be, and breathing with that. Hang in there. You don't need a helicopter. Just wave it off and the nightmare will go away.

Becca said...

"it just got different hard."

Bonnie, I love that!

Alicia said...

I'm so glad I stumbled onto this post this morning -I really needed it. I "pinned" this article so I can come back and read it when I'm having those adapting to the new normal kind of days :)
Thanks for your words.

Emily said...

Thanks, Alicia. I think I need it today, too!!