When “A New Normal” Isn’t

[Featured Image by Julian Rettger]

When I talk about my “new normal” I mean the life I am building for myself after loss. I acknowledge that “getting back to normal” is not an option, and that I have to actively create a new normal for myself. I defy the presumption that loss and grief might preclude me from experiencing a positive, even amazing, future.

Through my work as writing facilitator, life coach and transformational speaker, I encourage others to design and step into their unique and personal new normals after life-altering loss. A “new normal,” in this context, is a universe of possibility, something to accept and even embrace…if and when you’re ready.

It’s why I’ve used the phrase “A New Normal” as the title of this blog, as the name of my business, and as the working title for the book I am in the process of writing. It captures a mindset that is forward-looking, optimistic and healing. In my grief journey, that happens to be what I want these days.

But there is another “new normal” that has taken hold of our political landscape during the past two years under this current administration, that may be new, but it is the furthest thing from “normal.” I suggest we reject, resist, and even revolt against it, should it come to that.

I cherish our country’s democratic norms. I still hold dear the values our relatively young republic has stood for in the world at large for over two centuries (even though at times we may indeed have fallen short of living up to those values as a nation ourselves). I see this political “new normal” as a (hopefully temporary) aberration and abomination.

Because of the unfortunate use of the phrase “new normal” to describe such divergent circumstances, I wanted to clarify how my new normal and the political new normal are not the same thing at all. The former is positive and life-affirming. The latter is just the opposite. I love my new normal. The other fills me with dread because it threatens our  dream of what democracy yearns to be.

The United States used to be the poster child for this dream! Have we become so self-absorbed in our own petty struggles towards the “American dreams,” that the discomfort and suffering of others is no longer our collective problem? When did that happen? This “new normal” isn’t normal at all.

I hear people asking, “How can this be happening?!” As if the problem is out there somewhere. It’s not. We the People are the problem, but what’s beautiful about a democracy is that We the People are also the solution. So for the sake of all the freedoms, privileges and rights that are ours under the Constitution of these United States, VOTE this November.

No excuses. Not any more. Enough already.



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