The New Normal: Learn to Embrace

By: Patty Murray, Chairwoman and Co-founder of Hope for Two…The Pregnant with Cancer Network

Patty Murray

Immediately after my treatments ceased for breast cancer nineteen years ago, I remember saying to myself, “I couldn’t wait for my life to get ‘back to normal’.” Since that time, I have heard that refrain hundreds if not thousands of times, both while carrying out our mission at Hope for Two…The Pregnant with Cancer Network and as a keen observer of humanity. I’ve realized that while a person is in treatment or undergoing a life crisis, they long for their past life, before the storm. They sometimes even romanticize those “normal days” as idyllic. However, if they truly took off their rose colored glasses, they would realize that their “normalcy” was dotted with troubles and worries as well.  Still, the yearning continues until a realization slaps us in the face- that you will never return to your past life again.  This is your new normal!

At first, you are resentful. Yet, you slowly learn to accept the new norm and with a tweak here and there in your attitude, you can truly embrace it. I’ve come to appreciate that nothing ever stays the same anyway. So why torture yourself to strive for something that you can never obtain? In a college Philosophy course, we read from the Greek philosopher, Heraclitus, who stated that, “the only thing constant is change itself.” Furthermore, in our science classes, we studied the term entropy, which is the concept that there is a lack of order and any sense of predictability in physics. So change is a constant. Likewise, Biological research has shown that some tissues in the body replace cells at different rates and that most of the cells largely replace themselves every seven to ten years. Natural law, Philosophy and the sciences conclusively show that we are constantly changing and regenerating.

Despite this perpetual change, we humans continue to resist and wish to retreat to our old comfort zones. This is self-destructive thinking because not only does it fail to mirror reality but it consistently violates our laws of nature. Therefore, if our crisis, health issue, or loss modified our circumstances in life, and if change is the constant, then we should accept that our new normal is “normal.” This is what logicians call a tautology, or a sound logical argument.

But I would call it one of life’s lessons. I am now grateful to be afforded a new life, different though it may be. Until next time, may we be thankful for our lives, however altered they are, and realize how truly lucky we are to be alive. ✿