This blog is about why we use the phrase of a ‘new normal’ when an event of such magnitude, has occurred that nothing will ever be quite the same again.
These events can be positive, like the arrival of a new baby or man walking on the moon, contrasted with the grief caused by the death of a parent, or an event like 911.
I am lucky enough to have two children and like most couples, my wife and I sometimes talk about life when it was just us two. Typically, the conclusion is that we know it happened, but we can’t really recall what it was like. We are completely invested in the new norm of parenting our two kids whilst holding down jobs.
In contrast, we have also had our own health issues that could have meant this blog was never written. These were binary moments that are marked in our respective calendars. There is life before diagnosis and life after diagnosis.
So why write about new normal, or measuring the past in before and after milestones? I guess I have always wondered why it is such a common expression and if it is advantageous to think in these terms.
If we look at a definition, courtesy of Urban Dictionary, we see new normal is:
This brings me to the current buzz word of resilience. This is the capacity to recover from, or adapt to, difficulties or change. Resilience is key to helping an individual cope with a whole range of feelings, often including shock, denial, bargaining, guilt, anger, depression and acceptance.
So how are these ideas related and why do we care? I believe that as a culture, there is real advantage in using new normal or before and after in our vernacular. This type of language and thinking supports resilience by driving acceptance and avoiding the individual from lamenting a life that no longer exists.
We are clearly in the midst of a world wide, before and after event. My suggestion is that we all embrace the new normal because our old habits and conventions are at best on hold, and some may never return!