One of my dear friends sent me a text earlier that said, “…so I’m in the process of accepting my new normal.”
With a half-smile, I tensed up and immediately felt the gut-wrenching emotions that always accompany change—especially the kind of change that’s out of our control. I sent her one last return message and said, “I know…it’s times like these when we need to lean on God, friends, and possibly husbands.”
I laughed when I sent it, and I know she laughed when she read it. Others who have gone before us and have endured similar life circumstances are invaluable. Find those people. Become friends with those people. Joke with those people. Encourage and love those people.
Speaking of, they are exactly the ones I reached out to this morning after I visited Urgent Care.
If you know me, you know that I sort of muster through pain (read: stubborn) and would much rather spend co-pay money and time elsewhere. Like, anywhere else. But after my husband took one look at my grimacing-pretend-nothing-is-wrong face, he shook his head sternly. I rolled my eyes. He rolled his.
“Let me see it,” he said.
“Fine, but don’t make a face and don’t say any words please,” I said. I knew it was bad because I was still Lamaze breathing like I remembered how after almost twenty-three years.
“You’re going,” he said.
I sighed. His eyes were already mid-roll. Like now is the time he wants to have some sort of friendly competition, I thought.
So, I went. To Urgent Care. Six hours later. Because “urgent” is subjective. Obviously.
“What are you being seen for today?” the not-so-pleasant front desk lady asked.
You’d think people dealing with urgent situations would be more congenial. But it’s Monday and since we were apparently both having a rough start to the week, I gave her a pass before I answered.
“Um, I was picking my hair after I showered and…”
She already looked confused.
“Oh, it’s an 80’s thing. Guessing you didn’t grow up then?” I said. Can someone just give me a band-aid and a co-pay refund? Details now are frivolous, right?
“I basically van Gogh’d myself this morning when my pick, err…comb, snagged my cartilage hoop.”
Earring. It sort of ripped my ear almost straight through. See?
She saw, and finished checking me in. Urgently.
I’ll skip the rest except to say:
a) I’m fine because humor and perspective can pretty much get you through anything ridiculous-related
b) my new normal became getting through the day and ditching my nicely laid out calendar plans
When I finally got back home—because being outside in winter weather is ill-advised for a bum ear—I was starving. Recently, I underwent another new normal whereby I inquired with a Boot Camp trainer as to why my performance in the gym and on the road (running) was so horrendous. Basically, I was looking for an answer other than what I knew to be true.
We both rolled our eyes. That saved some steps.
“Has anything changed?” she asked me.
“Yeah, my days have a new normal,” I said. Basically, she was looking for an answer other than what she knew to be true.
“Start watching your macros again,” she gently reminded me. That was code for when I stopped marathon training, I also stopped logging in to My Fitness Pal. Ok, let’s be honest, the thing is not anyone’s “pal.”
When I got home after looking like I just had lunch with Mike Tyson, I popped a bowl of quinoa into the microwave. And let’s be honest about that, too. Quinoa is touted as an ancient grain attributed to the Incans or some similar marketing nonsense. Fine, I get it. But most of us who are eating quinoa—which cannot even phonetically be explained—are either middle-aged or serious athletes or trying to prove a point to our partners and/or children about pitching in to cook and/or the food group pyramid.
No one should actually want to eat quinoa and a side of sardines for lunch. But also no one likes letting down their pal, either.
So, as I stood in the kitchen pretending my ear was not Tell-Tale Heart throbbing and I was really looking forward to eating macro-appropriate carbs and protein instead of cheesy chips and wine, I looked out the window.
Snow. New normal.
I had no choice but to laugh. You can’t make Mondays up. Trust me, I tried all day long. Instead, as I stared at the white stuff adorning the back yard’s pine trees, I was reminded that just as seasons change outside, they do inside each of us as well.
And if we can embrace those changes—hard as they often are—it can lead to new normals. Ones that we didn’t even realize were possibilities before.
“Life is a series of natural and spontaneous changes. Don’t resist them; that only creates sorrow. Let reality be reality. Let things flow naturally forward in whatever way they like.”
― Lao Tzu