A New Normal

Habit: a settled or regular tendency or practice, especially one that is hard to give up

Each and every one of us have built regular patterns of behavior by which we live day to day. These habits are how we frame our expectations for life and remove stress or uncertainty of the unknown. Our habits consist of our work, eating or exercise schedules and any part of our daily routine. They also include our tendencies for how we choose to spend our free time. Our different ways of life are a collection of each of our individuals habits which we have built up over time consisting of our wants and needs. It takes years for these habits to form while they can be forced to change in an instant.

I have always known that I have a lot of quirks and a specific way I like to organize my home life. What I did not know before which I know now is how much my lifestyle of inviting change into my day to day was a habit of how I lived. For years I have thrived off of being in new environments, moving from city to city, traveling on the weekends, making new friends, saying yes to opportunities and challenges. I believed that living this type of lifestyle meant that I was not a standard creature of habit for how I lived, I didn’t settle in one place and I had never had the same day to day routine for any extended period of time. Now that this lifestyle has suddenly come to a halt I realize how I have lived a life of habit, meeting the standard definition just like anyone else. The second part of the definition above is spot on, a habit is “hard to give up”.

For the past three weeks I have been working on accepting the changing dynamic of my day to day life. There have been many days where my body has succumbed to my treatment. The smaller side effects have kicked in and I am finding new ways to deal with these small changes to my body; dry/peeling skin, dry throat, lack of taste and smell changing to extreme sensitivity to taste and smell, total and complete fatigue which makes standing seem like a monumental task. As these days occur I lose the ability to keep a schedule, run to my plan and make my life decisions as I wish. Understanding that we all get sick once in awhile, I am working to adapt (for just a few more months) my mindset of not having the ability to make plans as I once could. This mindset is not something that is easy to establish since it does not fit the years of habit I built for how I run my life.

I miss traveling and my social life more than anything else. I miss buying tickets to a show or event without having to worry if I am just throwing money away. While I miss these things, I am also learning to appreciate a less planned and “live in the moment” approach to life. I now make plans with 15 minutes or 1 days notice rather than planning everything weeks out. Let me tell you, it is not easy to make these changes, especially when your habits have had an influence on the types of people you associate with who are often living the same or similar lifestyle. Today if I need to make a plan so that I can get time on a friends calendar, due to their lifestyle requirements, I must tell them that there is a 50% chance that I will cancel last minute. This is just a new reality of life. Changing to a more fly by the seat of your pants way of approaching life has not been easy and I will more than likely revert back to my planning lifestyle as soon as I can, but I am hoping that I learn to appreciate a different style in the meantime.

My new lifestyle of less travel has also led me to have a much greater appreciation of making a house a home. I have always enjoyed dressing up my house and making it my own, but now I find I have a focus of finding how I can make my house one I want to truly live in and spend time. In the past four months I have spent more time at home than I did over many of the past years combined. It has been refreshing to slow down and appreciate how grateful I am to have a nice home which keeps me safe and comfortable during this time. Up to this point I had not kept a plant alive, ever! Last week I decided to take on the challenge of trying to start to grow and nurture of a few plants.

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Even though I am starting small, I feel better with my new “living in my home” lifestyle as I find something new to spend my time on. These plants represent the small things in life which are going to become large things.

I hope that writing and sharing my experiences and reflections will help others to accept whatever it may be that is presenting a challenge in their life. Writing this blog is something that brings me joy and is a part of my new normal. Sharing this experience has been the only way I know how to adapt and get through to the end. Many of you have shared your stories and experiences with me over the past months which has helped me to think in new ways and learn to accept significant change and challenge. While not everyday is a dream I would have created myself, I know that it is just one day in the collection and my challenge is relative on the scale of life.

Today is a good day, live your day and share your love in the best way you know how.

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