Next To Normal

Let’s face it. Most of us re next to normal. We are a bit off-kilter, striving for whatever we strive for, thinking whatever we think and being whoever we are.

To be next to normal is even. Tough thing to achieve. Because hey, look at the infinite number of variables of being a living, breathing, thinking, human.

Maybe you have had someone tell you, “You are NOT normal.”

Chances are, the person telling you that, isn’t normal, either. Because, what the ginger, is normal?

Is it a point? A spectrum? A grid? Is it the Eleventh Commandment that broke off of the tablet that Moses dropped on the way down the mountain?

Psychologists like to believe that they know what is normal. And maybe they know more about normal than we do. But I could argue that I have met some psychologist and psychiatrists, who are not even next to normal.

Everyday, we read accounts of people who appeared to be “normal,” only to find out the just let loose and killed themselves and their spots and kids. Supposedly, “normal” people have jumped off buildings.

So, normal, really, is anybody’s guess.

I think that s we age, normal becomes more of a personal thing, versus a comparison in society. We begin to learn what is “norma” for us … for our mind, for our body.

We might say, “I feel sort of weird, off-balance, off-kilter … not like myself.” Which, when I say those things, means, somethings not right. I have veered further off next to normal, than normal.

We say about others that we know, “He isn’t acting normal.”

I know that I am not feeling normal, not even next to normal. I am a few blocks south of that. I can be in a zone, focused, driven, open and embracing … and those are all normals for me. But another normal is when I get a bit lost, confused, uncertain as to what it is all about. So, I would have to say that my normal has a pretty large spectrum.

Things in my behavior and thoughts that used to bring fear to me, I have learned, they are part of me, my process. I have a creative mind and I know how it works. I tend to be a yo-yo dieter, and I know how that works. I can be outgoing and see the world as my playground, and I can feel that my home is my world.

Many of my friends know their normal, their next to norma, and their off-kilter. That is one of the perks of aging … is that we have been through the drill, around the playground, on the edge of our own cliff. And we have somehow, someway, pulled ourselves back to our next to normal, state.

I am off-kilter now. A new, next to normal, is in the works.

For three years now, I have been trying to return to my next to normal, with some nutmeg results.

I only use my health issues to age points, not for sympathy. I am a story Telly, and mine is the story I have chosen to tell.

When we first moved south, I didn’t feel well because of my gall bladder. The next year, it was my eyes. This pat month, it has been because someone had the audacity to tell me I have gremlins growing in my breast, aka breast cancer. And don’t you use know, that now, and for the past week, I have had a crappy cold.

Throughout the gallbladder issues, the eye issues and with this cold, all I want is to “feel normal”. I have had as hard as turmeric time trying to hang on to my old next to normal.

That is a tough mental game. As much as I try to hang on to what was normal, for me, I have felt a sense of loss.

Especially with my eyes, I have refused to settle. I have peppered questions wherever I can, read as much as I could, and have come through it, in better shape than it appeared I would. But I am not my nest to norma. That has shirted.

I have watched Nick trying to adjust to his next to normal. As strong as he has always been, he is acknowledging that he is weaker and can’t do nearly what he used to be able to do. His next to normal has shifted and there is a sense of mourning, that I see in him.

Although aging brings on many things that cause us to stumble and adjust and fight and accept, it can happen to anyone. One day a person is in top-notch form, skiing down a mountain, and the next, they are a paraplegic. One day your child is fine, and the next day, they are diagnosed with cancer.

For we, who are gaining, the aging, often becomes our nemesis. It gives and takes away.

Our kids see it and sense it and I can see it in their eyes and hear it in their voices. It is like a shard going into my being.

It makes me want to recoil, run and hide. Except running? I don’t think so. I guess I should have said, walk away.

Right now, my moving forward with what I want to do, where I want to go, isn’t at my whim. I am now on other people’s schedules. It is my new next to normal. Surgery? Aa month away. Radiation? Uh, a month after surgery. Followup appt? Two weeks after surgery. Next surgery? A month after radiation.

Nutmeg, ginger and allspice!

And my sisters and I used to roll our eyes when my mother talked like this.

Yes, the good news is that what I have is fixable. But the amount of time spent in the body shop, replacing old parts, and trying to salvage what I have, is not the next to normal that I had in my mind a month ago.

As I said, I am not asking for sympathy. I have it good. I just like to look at life and they to put the pieces of the puzzle together. Unfortunately, there are always a few missing.

I see people around me, I watch the world cloud and cutter itself up with the debris of the human spirit. And I wonder if the world will ever find a next to normal that doesn’t contain heartache and pain and freed and malice, a great divide in the haves and have nots. Or maybe the world, by design, will always be off-kilter?

Egad, why did I even go there, when my next to normal is on my plate?

I have to laugh at myself for that, because for me, that is pretty next to normal thinking.

And that is as good as it gets.



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