What if this is the new normal?

I don’t know about you but 2016 for me has been full of uncertainty, transition and plenty of ‘oh crikey’ and a few ‘WTF?!’ moments.

It’s also been a year of huge achievement, success and excitement, don’t get me wrong, but as I come towards the end of the year, I find myself concluding that uncertainty is my new normal.

Something funny happens when you accept your reality as the new normal.

You stop waiting for it to pass.
You stop planning for when it’s over.
You look it right in the eye.
You raise your game.

Ever since I decided to see this as my new normal, my thinking has shifted – from ‘How do I get through this?’ to ‘How do I want to live here?’ From ‘When this is over…’ to ‘What does success look like here and now?’

I’ve asked myself ‘Who do I want to be in this season?’ and ‘What do I need to give myself?

This has led me to some decisions already:

New boundaries

New territories often have new rules of engagement, but it’s not just the rules of the world around us we need to understand and adapt to – it’s our own internal rules, our boundaries that we need to establish.

As I’ve been reviewing the year, I’ve noticed plenty of highlights, achievements and ‘champagne moments’ – and I’ve been mindful not to ignore the struggles, as these can often be signposts to change.

For example, this year I worked through some of the school holidays. The total number of days probably wasn’t that much, but it had a way of breaking up our down time and creating in a whole new level of logistical juggling, and we’ve all noticed the results in a prolonged period of endoftermitis in recent weeks.

So one new rule for the new year is to fiercely protect my school holiday boundaries. I’ve never needed that rule before – it was more of a guideline which worked well up until now. Now we’re in a new season, where the demands of family and work life are different, I need new rules. And funnily enough, I was tested on it twice within hours of making that decision – a sure sign that it matters!

Uncommit to create space

As my kids have grown, their needs have changed. What they need from me has changed, and what we need as a family has changed too. As our priorities change, it’s good to review how we spend our time. Even my 7 year old noticed the other day that life had gotten a little “too busy” (her words!) and decided to quit her Thursday lunchtime club at school.

If uncertainty is our new normality, then space is our new fuel – to navigate the inevitable changes and surprises. Reviewing our regular activities and commitments, decluttering our physical space, and streamlining my social media accounts are all on my radar to create space.

Explore

One of the most liberating things about living in uncertainty is to realise that my role is no longer to have all the answers. If this is new territory, then I am the explorer, not the expert. It means I can take each new surprise as an adventure to explore. I can take each ‘I don’t know’ as an opportunity to discover more.

Instead of worrying, I can start getting curious about my soon-to-be-teenager’s brain. Instead of being the person who always has to answer ‘what are we going to do today?’ we’re all going to take turns deciding what we do with family time – the kids included. Even in my marriage I’m ditching the ‘I should know what I’m doing by now after 14 years’ in favour of a spirit of exploration. Sometimes exploring isn’t about discovering new pastures, it’s about rediscovering the beauty hidden in the familiar.

So here’s to my new normal – a season of making space to explore and dig deeper. Bring it on!

How about you? What’s your new normal? Who will you be in this season?

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