“Getting back to normal” is a common refrain in the postscript to Christmas and New Year, as the warm indulgences of midwinter recede and we find our way to return to some routine.
Getting back to normal, though, begs the question: what’s normal? Who’s defining it?
What’s seen as normal is influenced by expectations. Normal clusters around the average.
You never, ever want to aim too low, but aim too high, and you risk being the tallest tree catches the wind.
So normal is somewhere around the average. Normal is everyday respectability.
If everyday respectability is a leap forward, it may well be something to aim for. If that’s the case, go for it and grab it with both hands.
If, however, you’ve already found your way to everyday respectability and you’re wondering whether you’re capable of more, it’s virtually certain you are.
Your normal, then, is your decision.
Every day you and I can choose a new normal for ourselves. Set a new baseline. Strive higher, reach, try to go further.
And every step of the way taking care to know and fully accept who I am, because there are at least two ways this goes (and knowing the difference between these two takes months or even years of regular reflection):
- If I’m striving higher just to be accepted by others, then my striving is sure to bring hard lessons
- If I’m striving higher because that is who I am and how I’m built, then it makes no sense to accept someone else’s definition of what’s normal
When it comes to any part of our lives, this time of year is as good a time as any to set our new definition of normal.