I Propose That We Retire the Overuse of the Word “Normal”

“If you are always trying to be normal you will never know how amazing you can be.” ~Maya Angelou

It caught me out of the blue. 

There I was at a networking event and people were standing in line waiting to get lunch and talking. I asked the person behind me in line how she was doing, and she said, “Good, it feels so good to be getting back to the new normal.” And when she said “new normal” I physically flinched.  What is normal?  I don’t get to go back to life as it was pre-pandemic.  I lost a parent, I have been adapting and adjusting my business daily to meet the ever-changing needs of my clients, things are not the same as they were before. There is nothing that has felt “Normal” for a long time. Actually, when I think about it, what would I have called “normal” in my life.  I am an entrepreneur and a coach. Normal for me isn’t what I search for or will settle for.

Normal means:

Adjective:  conforming to a standard; usual, typical, or expected
Noun: the usual, average, or typical state or condition.

There is a rule in life.  I will call it life Rule #40. 

You don’t get to go backwards in living, you can’t undo something. You just have to go forward and sometimes that just means you have to go through extremely uncomfortable things. That is life.

By retiring the word normal for a while, it gives way to us to find words that better describe what we really want and feel. I think what the gal in line at my networking event was saying was, “With school starting this week, we are getting into some kind of routine and that feels really good to me.”

I think we do a disservice to ourselves and to our expectations when we use the word normal about living. Each of us is unique, as our DNA is clear in pointing out. We are each having our own experience, even if we are at the same place with someone. I encourage you to embrace the uncomfortable, the new, the non-typical. It feels odd at first, even wrong and as you grow and push against the boundaries of “average” you will try to avoid it. With time and practice, this will become your standard response, to push on the boundaries and the outcomes will be less than standard and more like above average.

None of us can unlive the last twenty-three months. We have experienced each day and all of those 700 plus days have led us to today and today will lead us too tomorrow. Life doesn’t stop moving forward.

Maybe a new saying we can start today is, “I am looking forward to more of a routine to my life.” Might be some new words we can use. What we tell ourselves and what we pick for words to tell others says a lot about us and what is important to us.

The conversations I have with clients are about having a life way above average. I work with people that have dreams and plan to make that stuff happen. It has not mattered what the situation has been over the past year, I am assisting them to see each situation as a gift and opportunity.

If you were to ask me what I am looking forward to when we are no longer in a pandemic, my answer would be a few less decisions each day. Since, I have no idea when that will be, I might as well make the best of this situation. This is a great chance for me to practice growing each day, learning at a fast pace, finding the opportunities in each situation. I enjoy jigsaw puzzles and I like to think of each day as if I am getting ten new pieces to the puzzle of life. Where do these new pieces belong? That is the challenge of each day and the day after.

And when it starts to feel a little overwhelming, which it really has from time to time. There have been a couple of times I have wished I could press pause on my life and catch my breath. It doesn’t work that way. I go to the things I have control of, parts of my schedule, my own routines, and my food choices. 

Don’t settle for “normal”, see if you can’t reach way past that for above average and better.  You will be glad that you did.

Some things to think about.

  • What things are you waiting to return to the way they were before March 2020?
  • What if the way it was wasn’t the best way things could be?
  • What if things could be even better?
  • What are three other options for the situation you are waiting to return to the way it was?

Thank you and my sincerest hopes that for just five minutes this week, you find yourself a little bit of peace and solace. 


JoyGenea Schumer
Business Owner, International Neurodiversity Coach and Speaker

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