I have an aunt that is fond of saying “Normal is just a setting on a washing machine.” Her saying is a nice reminder that when it comes to humans, “normal” is relative, and a moving target. Even within the context of one life, what is “normal” can vary from year to year, from life stage to life stage.
Recently I have had a few adjustments of my own. I found out that I will be taking daily medication for the rest of my life. Whereas before I used to get up and eat when I pleased, now I will have to take a pill with a glass of water and then wait a full hour before being able to eat or drink anything, including coffee or tea! In the big picture, this is a small change. Others of us may wake up one day to find even bigger adjustments in our lives. This New York Times article is a particularly touching example of a woman who undergoes a dramatic readjustment of “normal.”
One of the biggest points of interest to me is whether we will make the adjustments in our lives based on voluntary versus mandatory changes. In other words, will we only make changes in response to unexpected (or even expected) health crises or will we take impetus on our own in the name of prevention?
In my case, I think that a mixture of both response to personal and environmental health AND a desire for prevention are driving my hunger for change. Here are the changes that I aim to make within the next few weeks to redefine my normal:
- Train myself to take my medication– each morning I will take my pill with only a glass of water, and then wait the requisite one hour before eating or drinking
- Quit caffeinated beverages– I have read that caffeine can exacerbate anxiety, something which I am keen to rid myself of as much as possible
- Learn to use only toothpaste and deodorant as cosmetics– I am trying to cut back drastically on the amount of chemicals and plastics that I consume, most makeup and creams end up breaking me out anyways, and that is not pretty!
- Get a low maintenance haircut & embrace my natural color and texture– for each person this could mean something different, personally I like short haircuts that dry quickly
- Get in the habit of keeping the kitchen sink empty– the kitchen sink is the epicenter of a clean house, and cleaning dishes is a meditative task
- Resist unnecessary spending and impulse buys– it hurts savings and never really ends up feeling good… I will reward myself with experiences instead of things