What is normal? I mean, really? Growing up, my mom and I would talk and theorize that everyone in the world is actually weird. The way we saw it, the vast majority of people in some way or another don’t fit into the mold of “normal,” which makes them weird. However, because the people who do fit the standards of “normal,” are in the minority and, as such, are weird, because they aren’t weird. So, everyone is weird. Even so, everyone has their own “normal.” Everyone has their day-to-day rhythms, and it’s these routines and habits that can help provide a sense of balance and continuity in the rough times of trial and challenge.
But, what if you’re so deeply in a time of transition that you don’t know what your normal is anymore? That feels like where I’m at a lot of the time right now. Every week ends up feeling very full, every day feels like it has its own challenges, and the lighthouses are hard to see in the storms a lot of the time.
I have, written on my desk’s whiteboard, that this is a process. By accepting that this is a process, that I am in a long transitional period, I have some options. I can be disoriented by the flux and flow of the process. I can fight the process. I can go along with it and not try to find my feet. Or, I can look for the constants, the stable and steady stepping stones along the path and walk with the flow of the process, rather than allow myself to be pushed along.
So far, I haven’t consistently chosen one route over another. As I write this, as I realize my options, I see that the most reasonable option is to try to find the constants and use them to find stability in the transitions. But seeing what I “should” do and actually doing it are so very different from one another. Especially when one of the transitions I’m facing is transitioning therapists. Unfortunately, my great steps of progress are being diverted to another path due to my therapist’s upcoming maternity leave. To maintain my ship in a storm analogy, the lighthouse I was following needs to go out for a time, so I am needing to find a new lighthouse to guide my way to safety.
Beyond the transition of therapists, I am trying to find a daily routine that encourages health all around (mental, emotional and physical), while not neglecting the needs of my family, or my other obligations (ie: work). Even some of those constants in life (like work), feel vaguely unstable, mostly due to situations that are beyond my control. Since I prefer having some feeling of control in my life, this major storm of transition is very disorienting, and I’m struggling to find the best way of establishing routine and control over my day-to-day again. Do I need to have control, really? I don’t know, but, as someone who finds comfort in stability and control, the thought of not having stability and control is not only disorienting, but also yet another source of stress and strain. Maybe, at least for right now, I just need to find a way to be comfortable with the flux.
I was once talking with some good friends about a different set of challenges, and I commented that I knew I’d get through, because God doesn’t give us more than we can handle. They quickly piped in and said, “Actually sometimes He does give us a little more than we can handle. Then He helps us handle it.” That line has stuck with me for months. Maybe even over a year; time does seem to go faster as you get older. It has come to mind even more as I go through these transitions, because all of this, the work on my emotional scar tissue, the journey to better emotional and mental health, all of it has been HARD. One of the hardest things I’ve done. I feel like every day, I’m asking Him to help me find some sort of stability, some sort of strength. I’m leaning more on Him on each day that comes up when I feel lost in my own life, and I’m starting to see this need to lean on my faith in these challenging times as the silver lining of the long transitions.
There’s still a long way to go to get through this transition. I don’t know how much calm or storm will be on the other side. I am looking for a new lighthouse, to try to guide my path. I struggle finding my path every day. But, I’m starting to see that there is a path under my feet, even if I can’t always see it. There is something I can rely on, even if I feel like everything is a hot mess (which is a pretty frequent feeling, lately). But I think the best thing I can do to help myself keep putting one foot in front of the other, keep trying to find a path through this storm, is to have some faith. And that might be the hardest thing I do in this entire journey.
Have you ever felt lost in a transitional time? How did you find a new normal?