Climbing Up to the Next New Normal
I've been feeling somewhat anxious lately; a complete lack of clarity and an unbelievable lack of organization and execution. This is not me in my stride. I’m breaking all of my rules, working late; eating crap for supper when I get home, and sacrificing sleep so I can get more items knocked off my to do list.
I didn't make the connection with how I’ve been feeling lately and all of the changes occurring in my life until tonight after an evening walk with my four legged buddy, Titan, our 12 year old lab. An evening walk for us is a "new normal". Due to ageing, Titan can’t manage long walks anymore. The nerves in his hind legs are starting to malfunction, causing missteps and wobbles now and again. To attempt to minimize his symptoms, we’ve cut our regular walks in half, 20minutes each morning, and 20 minutes before bed each evening.
For years our time has been 5-6am every morning. Originally strategically placed that early to ensure he got his exercise in and I could be home with the kids before my husband left the house for work. 5am also worked for me because getting up at the crack of dawn appeals to me more than attempting to motivate myself to go out of the house after a long day at the office.
Eventually, I came to realize that starting my day that way, being outside walking when everyone else was still asleep, was becoming essential to my morning routine. It allows me a quiet peaceful start to my day. I have found so many moments of clarity on our walks, which is why it shouldn’t be surprising that I finally figured out what was causing me to feel so off lately the other night while out walking with Titan.
I think all that I’m feeling lately is because I am moving into another season of “my new normal". A whole lot of crazy things are happening in my life right now. Crazy good things, but crazy nonetheless!
I’ve recently received a promotion at work. It’s a goal I’ve been working towards, so it should be something that brings me happiness right? But what I’m actually feeling is a bit uneasy. I’m going to need to figure out how to manage my new responsibilities without letting work seep too far outside of office hours impacting all of the other great things I have in my life right now.
I’ve also got my new project, Your Formula for Life. I’m using the site as a vehicle for sharing information for busy women in an effort to keep us all believing we can design our own formula for life, no matter how hectic they get. Problem is, lately I’m feeling like a bit of a fraud. I mean, I have a guidebook on clean eating, and I literally ate two white chocolate macadamia nut cookies, with a decaf coffee and Baileys for supper when I got home from work at 9pm the other night. So, is that me designing my life? I guess YFFL is also about being real. So here it is, me being real. I’ll admit the re-design stage of life, as I move into a new normal, is a bit rocky.
I honestly fear the added chaos that September will bring. Vacations will be over for another year, there will be lunches to make and many many hockey practices to get to. How am I going to manage all of that with everything else that has come into my life in the past 6 months?
I’m in the middle of trying to figure out what my new stride is going to be, what new habits I’m going to need to develop, what new strategies I’m going to have to implement to adjust my schedule so I can do it all well, without sacrificing what’s most important to me. I’ve been through this “new normal” adjustment enough times in my life to be able to identify that this transition process is tough! It feels like an endless stream of trial and error as I try to get everything to fit in a way that will work for me, but more importantly, in a way that helps me feel happiness.
To make my adjustment this time a touch more daunting, my constant, loyal companion is entering his own new normal. I will never underestimate what a consistently wagging tail greeting me at the door every day can do for my soul! He still comes to greet me with enthusiasm, although he takes more time getting up, and his steps are a bit slower and more cautious. Helping Titan with his new normal is the least I can do though. When I think back through all of the changes I’ve experienced in the past 12 years, he’s been right there, being exactly the same, giving me some semblance of the old normal as I struggled to figure out what my new normal would look like.
- Getting married and learning to live with another human being that I've made a lifetime commitment to was extremely stressful for me. Admittedly, in those early days we had our fair share of battles; causing us to go to bed mad and even sleep in separate rooms in extreme cases (it's so hard to fall asleep beside someone that has royally ticked you off!!) Consistently on those nights when I was sleeping alone, I had a four legged friend leap into bed with me. He knew I needed some comfort getting through that rocky new normal that was me in a committed relationship.
- After Zach was born in December of 2004, I was stressed out, exhausted, and most likely starving my child from lack of milk production due to the new, never felt before, fear of being a mom. Titan never missed one single evening feeding. Lying beside the rocking chair at 4am while I attempted to feed Zach. He didn’t hesitate to get up with me in the middle of the night when the rest of the world slept. He knew I needed company during that phase of figuring out my new normal.
- In 2007, along came Julia - a child that virtually did not sleep through the night for 4 years! A child that much preferred to sleep with me and would reach out to touch my hair, or my face, throughout the night to make sure I was still there with her. Inevitably, each night, I'd wander into her room, groggy with lack of sleep, to get her out of her crib and shush her crying. We’d curl up in the spare single bed and before long I'd hear the patter of furry feet coming down the hallway from my bedroom where Titan typically sleeps. Many nights the three of us would cram in that single bed together trying to rest. He was there to help me learn how to make it through that phase of my new normal.
Recently, at a vet appointment, the vet courageously brought up the “quality of life” topic. She felt it was not necessary to do an assessment right now, but that it was something I needed to start thinking about. I knew she was just being proactive, and things could deteriorate pretty quickly at this point, but I still wasn’t ready for it. I mean, that would be a HUGE unwanted change to my “new normal”, living life without him.
Moving into a new normal can really, in some ways, be viewed as a levelling up – which is likely why every time we go through it, it feels more difficult. The fact that I understand why I’m feeling out of stride lately is a bit comforting. Although the type A control freak in me would like a spreadsheet that documents exactly how I’m going to get to my new normal and what it’s going to look like when I finally arrive!
I guess the lesson behind this whole post, both for me and anyone else experiencing the things I’ve described, is that sometimes when we’re feeling out of sorts, it could just be the universe telling us it’s time. Time to establish new routines, open up to new mindsets, and create new habits! We don’t always have a choice in what our new normal will look like or when it will happen. Despite being fearful of getting to that next level and losing my buddy along the way, I’m still driven to level up and figure all of this out. I think eventually I may also start to understand that he’s only getting ready to leave me soon because he knows I've levelled up enough now to be ready to reach that next "new normal" without him this time.
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