Saturday, April 24, 2010

Finding the New Normal

Have you ever heard the phrase that the only constant in life is change? I know that's a completely cliche statement, but I feel like it's true.

One of the key components to dealing this change is figuring out how to go on when one has happened. I'm not necessarily just talking about big changes; I'm referring to any time a change happens and you have to find the new normal.

For example, if your roommate and best friend moves out to go back to school, you have to get used to not having her around every day and being able to talk to her whenever you want. (Yes, I know the phone is a wonderful invention and means you can still talk to her frequently, but it's not the same as living with someone.) And when she moves across the country once she's finished with school, you have to get used to the idea that she's now 2,000 miles away. This change happened awhile ago, and I'm just using it as an example.

Sometimes it could be a change in responsibilities at work which means your time is used differently. It might be a change in church callings, living arrangements or family situation. It could also be a change in relationship with someone to be closer or further apart. Maybe the change was welcome and maybe it wasn't, but you have to learn to accept it and figure out how to proceed.

And when you lose a loved one (yes, you had to know that was coming, and you're not really surprised are you?), you have to learn how to handle life without them. I didn't see my niece on a daily basis, so I haven't had to figure out how to deal with the hole of not seeing her every day. But I have had to accept the idea that she's no longer five and a half hours away and I'll see her the next time I go to my sister's house or she comes here for a doctor's appointment. It's not just figuring out how to deal with not seeing her anymore but also figuring out how to handle all the emotions that her passing has elicited.

It's been a struggle, but I'm finally starting to feel like myself again. I'm emerging from my safe little cocoon where I've been residing for the last little while as I've dealt with the emotions of her passing. Now I have to figure out what MY new normal is. This is a different process for me than for my sister who did see her on a daily basis and lost her little girl. My task is more to figure out how this has changed me and how I can deal with those changes. I'd like to say I'm exactly the same as I've always been, but I don't think that would true. I'm still me of course, but this has changed my perspective in a lot of ways and made me think about things differently. To a certain extent it's also caused me to be more cautious where I invest my emotional energy. That's not an entirely bad thing as long as I don't let it make me selfish.

In any case, I'm doing my best to figure out what it is that I want and need and, hopefully, who might be able to help me get that.


Gallup Family said...

Oh don't think you can ever lose someone and be exactly the same as you use to be. That person's life impacted you in some way and changed who you are. Remember the best qualities your niece elicited in you and strive to make those more prominent as you remember her :)

gag01001 said...

Hang in there, Tammy! Your new normal will come in time. Just like you learned to live without me (a daunting task, I know) you'll be able to adjust to this as well.