I literally want to scream when I hear that phrase — especially when it is uttered by a doctor, psychologist, or other healthcare professional.
Someone once said to me that normal is “a cycle on a washing machine and nothing more!” I love this idea because there really is no such thing as “normal” when it comes to human behavior or the aging process.
Take a look at what I found when I looked online at Merriam Webster’s dictionary under the adjective “normal” …
“According with, constituting, or not deviating from a norm, rule, or principle; conforming to a type, standard, or regular pattern, occurring naturally; of, relating to, or characterized by average intelligence or development” ~ Merriam Webster’s Dictionary
You and I both know that if we were to have a conversation about what is “normal,” we would likely never agree 100%. Why? Because we are looking at things from our own set of lenses…from our unique perspective based on conditioning, life experiences, and belief systems.
So if this is true, when a doctor, psychologist, psychiatrist, or other “expert” deems something as “normal” on what are they basing their opinion? Of course…their own perspective based on their experiences, conditioning, belief system, etc. And yes… the law of averages.
Does it include retiring at 65, joining a golf club, women’s group, or travel club? Or… does it include working in your career that you love until the day you decide you no longer love it, taking extended vacations abroad for months at a time, enjoying time with close friends, spoiling the grandkids on the weekends, and trying new exciting hobbies?
What is NORMAL for YOU???
Maybe YOUR normal includes continuing to work full time and picking up part time work to offset the cost of your escalating expenses relating to your adult children and their kids now living with you and going to the doctor once a week to deal with your ongoing health concerns and chronic pain.
Once you answer the question of what YOUR normal looks like… ask yourself the following questions:
“Do I want to keep this particular version of “normal?” Or do I want to upgrade it to a new and improved version of normal (a new normal)?”
“Am I OK with normal…with average?”
Create a version of your life that IS NOT predicated on others.
Unless of course you LIKE what your version of “normal” aging looks like. In which case the majority of people will tell you that you are ABNORMAL! How ironic is that?
Here are some common things I have heard doctors, psychiatrists, psychologists, therapists, and other so called “experts” say over the years that are “normal” in regard to the aging process:
– Decline in health
– Loss of energy
– Decreased passion for life
– Decreasing cognitive function
– Lack of sex drive
– Boredom and sedentary lifestyle
– Poor nutrition
– Immune system declining
– Feelings of hopelessness or despair
– Weight loss
– Weight gain
This drives me BONKERS! Why? Because when people think something is “normal” they typically resign themselves to being content with experiencing it.
From our school days, we were taught to be “normal” or “average” because if we were below average or above average in any particular area, we were likely relentlessly made fun of.
In our young adulthood, we followed the patterns of our peers… if our peer group started getting married, having kids, buying homes, traveling, going back to school, etc., we usually followed a similar pattern.
And then there is of course….drum roll please… retirement. Someone said it is normal to retire at age 65ish so we assume that we should do it too…whether we are ready or not!
Create a NEW normal!
You owe it to yourself to stop listening to the so called experts and become the expert on your own life!
Let’s be CLEAR…there is no such thing as “normal” aging. We all experience life and living differently, so remember the next time you hear that something is “normal” that the only true normal is a cycle on a washing machine!
Live (and age) with attitude!
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