Monday, June 26, 2017

Life is a series of "normals"

Life is a series of "normals" all packaged up in bundle of "normals".

What's normal for you today? Waking up a certain time. Seeing certain people. Doing certain things.

Sure, but even those move around a bit.  Here's one example:  Where I live, even if I wake up at the same time each day, its perfectly normal for it to be dark when I wake up in the winter, and bright sunshine in the summer.  Two different "normals" within another "normal".

I also hate waking up in the dark, so I look forward to summer, but as fall approaches my attitude toward the transition to the next normal is not super-healthy. My attitude even manages to persist despite my full realization that the transition between the normals doesn't give a wazoo about my attitude toward it. It is going to proceed with or without my approval.

Our culture has developed means of dealing with some of the transitions from one "normal" to the next one. We pretty much have "The Big Five" covered: birth, coming of age, sickness/death, marriage/divorce and job change covered. We probably worked on those because they're obvious, I guess, and to some extent, they happen often enough and affect a larger number of people.

I worry about new normals that are really isolated to just one or two people. Transitions that won't get the same support as the "Big Five". Just because a transition is small and maybe not a "Big Five" doesn't make the transition any less significant. There are times when a new normal is not something someone might want to talk about openly. In those instances, we are left with no support system to make the transition. Sometimes we may even be completely alone.

Just like the timing of the sunrise, the transition will proceed regardless of our attitude toward it and whether or not we are alone or supported by friends. I worry about people in these circumstances because I think that finding a new normal is hard work and best done in company.  I also worry about them because the American mystique of rugged individualism can cause people to affix blame, guilt, shame and draw imaginary causation lines that can impede a path toward a new normal.

The goal of the transitions is for the next normal to be at least as healthy as was the prior one.  That's not hoping for too much, is it?

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