The ‘New Normal’ and Me

Tramore Beach, Co. Waterford
Tramore Beach, Co. Waterford, November 1, 2014

Happy November All and thanks to everyone who took part, in whatever way,  in The Festival of Bridges which took over Social Bridge for the last few weeks. It was a great experience and I’ve come to meet all sorts of new people through it, which is brilliant.

Today has been like an interlude between finishing a book that you’ve loved and looking at the pile of books that are waiting to be read and which hold promise.

The day started very early indeed as the dogs were restless with the Halloween fireworks and the like. As a result I ended up being up before dawn and got to see the sunrise.

While out walking, I was thinking about the concept of the new normal which is so dominant these days. It tends to be used a lot in the context of grief and how we have to come to terms with ‘the new normal’ but it is also used in relation to lots of aspects of life.

It’s a notion that has long grated with me and I wasn’t able to put my finger precisely on why until today.

Basically, I think that the notion of  normal is very much a social construct that we build to give ourselves a sense of security. But really, our lives are changing all the time in a whole host of ways.

Trying to come to terms with a ‘new normal’ seems to me to be as futile as puppy Stan chasing birds on the beach. He runs and runs and they soar up into the sky and leave him looking stunned and frustrated every time. Sometimes, he even loses sight of what he’s doing and races into the sea after a gull that takes off over the ocean as soon it it spots him on the rampage.

Lessons of Life!
Lessons of Life!

Why not think of life as ever-changing moments which are there for us to experience, learn from, endure, enjoy?

There sun will never rise  on November 1, 2014 again. It was a magical time here on the coast of Co. Waterford ~ an energetic awakening to the importance of seizing the moment.

Garrarus Beach, Co. Waterford on November 1, 2014.
Garrarus Beach, Co. Waterford on November 1, 2014.

What’s your feel about the  concept of the new normalespecially in the context of  coping with grief?


Author: socialbridge

I am a sociologist and writer from Ireland. I have worked as a social researcher for 30 years and have had a lifelong passion for writing. My main research interests relate to health care and I love to write both non-fiction and poetry.

21 thoughts on “The ‘New Normal’ and Me”

  1. I think that in the race to understand or negate emotions, our societies substitute a plethora of physical surrogates. These substitutions, like retail therapy for feeling down, are like whitewashing over the emotions and are, in the end, not only ineffective but possibly damaging. Human emotions and feelings have remained unchanged as far back as written history and there isn’t much new in the way of “new”. They can be described and studied but not dismissed. They simply have to be worked through as best as any individual can, and understood on a personal level. The standards of examination, support networks, acceptance, and passing time still stand as they always have.

  2. Beautiful photos, particularly that one of Stan on the edge of the sea, I felt as though I was there with you before dawn. I like your view of ‘normal’, you’re right that life changes all the time – we may think we can get used to a new normal but that’s false security as it will only change again.

  3. I love this philosophy about life Jean! Normal is something that other people came up with. What matters is checking with ourselves and connecting with our inner wisdom…. Or watching Stan 🙂
    Val x

  4. I am thinking about it–the new normal. Normal implies everyday, typical, way things usually are, habit, ordinary, so new would imply a different way of what is seen as normal and typical and now to be expected. I think that may be true, but not sure it has to be true, or even that it matters if it is or is not. Because normal is not always the same. I suppose for example one can say it is the new normal that most of us are going to cope with a parent with Alzheimer’s or some type of dementia, and there will be a new normal in how we related to said parent. But when I think if the normal, the mundane, the ordinary, I think that it does not have to be that way at all. This new normal has been nothing normal, filled with joyous moments, painful surprises, irritating stresses, and about every good, bad, crazy, overwhelming moment possible. Is the new normal not normal and that is what makes it the new normal?

    I have learned so much, grown so much, felt my capacity to love and to care extend beyond what I would have thought I could do. Every visit home is like a gift, and when I open it, there is something new and different, and whatever it is, I can keep it with me as a memory, a chance, and opportunities that won’t be offered again. If that is my new normal, I’ll take it–seeking growth, enlightenment, and satisfaction require challenge.

    1. Suz, thanks for sharing your thoughts. Your point about having a parent with Alzheimer’s disease strikes a lot of chords as my father had dementia and when he was diagnosed, it was like the bottom had fallen out of the world. However, like you, it transpired that each day was different, with all sorts of emotions and levels of happiness in both him and me. What might have seemed like a ‘new normal’ dissolved into these moments which lasted to the end and even when he died, another potential ‘new normal,’ it turned out to not be black and white, like I had feared. Again moments and his abiding presence through memories, his sayings, photographs and his genes!

  5. Hi Jean I do not know about the new normal right now I am just living one day to the next. I do love the photos in you blog and like Stan I am rushing round barking at the seagulls and the waves. Yes Seize the day it will not pass this way again. xxx

    1. I love that expression, that like Stan, you are barking at seagulls and waves. It means we can still get excited about things, and interact, and it never gets tiresome. And then, as Jean says, we can stop and stand still, and let the waves roll over our feet and experience a new and different experience.

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