The New Normal

My college best friend told me on the phone I sound like me again. Yesterday my roommate said I seemed much happier lately. And I have caught myself frequently singing in the car (to happy songs!)

I woke up three weeks ago hungover and sad. I had hit the latest “bottom.” As cheesy as it sounds, I sat in bed and gave myself two options–wallow in self-pity or push off the bottom and start making my way back to the surface. I didn’t know how much further down the “down” could go, but I didn’t want to find out.

I went on yelp.com and found out where to take beginner yoga classes in Silver Spring. I joined an online dating service. I started this blog. I began eating healthier. I found joy in being with my girlfriends. And I started going out on Friday nights with co-workers or Bocce teammates who introduced me to their friends.

This morning when I was reading Modern Love, my favorite column in the Sunday New York Times, the exact expression I had been looking for to describe my rise was written in a single line, “This was the new normal.”

The column’s writer was dealing with a break-up and a bout of breast cancer. In my case, I have been dealing with my parents rocky divorce and my own break-up. And though our pain was different, Judy Smith of Seattle and I had come to the same conclusion. We needed to accept our “new normal.”

My parents are leading separate lives. For the first 26 years of my life my mom and dad were together. They aren’t anymore. When I call my mom at the house, I can’t reach my dad. And some years, at Christmas, I’m going to have to pick. But I still have both my parents, and my little brother, and they still love me and want to spend time with me.  The time spent together has just taken on a new form.

I am single. I don’t have a last call of the day or someone to wake up next to. My best friend is out walking the world on his own, and I don’t get to know what he’s doing or if he’s okay. He’s not my best friend anymore. But I get to spend time with old friends and make new ones. And I get to write this blog, which means I get to write, something I didn’t even know I missed.

I will get to have butterflies again some day. And experience the wonder of falling in love.

My “new normal,” compared to so many others’ “normal,” is fairly fantastic. Buried beneath the sadness and pain of the last year, I found “me” again. It’s nice to be back on the surface. It’s easier to “be” up here.

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  1. pessimeggie
    August 25, 2009 at 2:43 pm

    The coolest thing about “normal” is that is doesn’t even exist. Everyone’s “normal” is so different from the next guy.
    And your “normal” too will change throughout life. It’s beautiful. It’s ever-changing. After you get out the funk, you realize how liberating it is.

    I for one, am glad that I’ve never been “normal.” It’s too confining and it doesn’t allow for the change when you need it.

    Life’s too short to ever be “normal.”

    Lady, I know you are too special to ever be or have a normal.

  2. lady&herboysclub
    August 25, 2009 at 5:51 pm

    Oh how I love my pessimeggie (who wasn’t really pessi in her comment!)

    The normal isn’t referring to me as much as it refers the reality of my life. What is the “normal” in life itself changes often, it’s all about changing course with it. It seems to work out a whole lot better than resisting.

    And don’t worry…I know I’m not “normal” 🙂

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