I went through a couple different names before deciding on A New Kind of Normal. I chose the name because I remember a speaker at a Women of Faith conference sharing her story and one of the things that impacted me the most was her statement that sometimes things happen in our lives – things we cannot often control – and things cannot go back to the way things were but instead we must set out to find a new kind of normal for our lives.
With that statement, something inside me changed. Not that I don’t ever long for the days when I was healthy and things were simpler, but it was a reminder that while my mind may visit those times, it cannot live there. I must be present in my life right now to be able who I want to become in the future.
In learning to discover and embrace this new kind of normal for my life, I had to accept a couple things. First, I had to realize that things will not always go as I have planned. I am most definitely a planner (which I’ve learned was a trait I inherited from my dad) and I may describe myself as “Almost Type-A.” I love lists and feel the most accomplished when I am able to cross things off. As I have faced chronic illness, I have had to learn things may not go as planned and that my value and worth is not based on a list. If I cannot finish everything that is on my list or even if I have to set the list aside completely due to a flare, that is ok. I am ok.
This concept ties into the second important thing I have had to learn is that its ok to say no. Growing up and throughout college, I totally struggled with being a people-pleaser and finding my significance in earning the approval of others. I wanted to succeed for my parents or my professor and by receiving their approval and praise, then I could be ok with who I was. It definitely took some time to move beyond and learn that it is ok to say no. It is ok to not get that A. It is ok to at times make my health a priority. I still struggle but I’ve learned to accept that it is now a part of my life and my new normal has to allow myself some flexibility.
So in this four years I have been writing this blog, I have learned to embrace the changes that have occurred in my life and most importantly know that my “normal” will never stay the same as it is constantly involving with the ebb and flow flow of life. Hopefully A New Kind of Normal will be around for many more years to come.
PS – the book The Search for Significance by Robert McGee is a great resource if you or someone you know struggles with basing their self-worth on accomplishments or approval of others.