The Now Normal

Posted on: June 29, 2016


No, that’s not a typo in the title. I meant now, not new. I’ll explain.

First, let’s start by looking at how the term New Normal came about…this is according to Wikipedia.

New Normal is a term in business and economics that refers to financial conditions following the financial crisis of 2007-2008 and the aftermath of the 2008 – 2012 global recession. The term has since been used in a variety of other contexts to imply that something which was previously abnormal has become commonplace.

Did anyone else know that first part? I didn’t. But, nevertheless, it’s the second part that I’m focusing on. The “something which was previously abnormal has become commonplace” part.

Here’s the thing about that. Almost nothing is commonplace anymore. Most things are changing rapidly – situations, vocabulary, terminology, technology (what we use and how we interact with it,) how and where business is conducted, how we interact or don’t interact with each other, how we treat each other (personally and professionally,) how we function as a society, how we socialize or don’t socialize, how and where we express ourselves, what we think is acceptable to do and say online and offline, how we receive information, the amount of information we receive, topics we focus on. The list is long.

The speed of the change is insanely fast. So fast that we can barely catch up. So, there is never time for a new normal, there is only time for a NOW normal.

I’ve been thinking about this for a while. It came up because I often feel overwhelmed and wanted to understand why. Understanding why helps alleviate my tendency to think of my negative feelings as a character flaw – as something in me that I need to “fix.”

Of course there are many nuances that contribute to personal challenges but, one of the things that came up is this notion that there is no “new normal” anymore. We don’t get the luxury of time to adjust to the “new.” Instead, we’re on this hamster wheel of the “now.” And, without a, much needed, resting period, we exist in a heightened state of “ready.” Ready to adjust to the change. Ready to move. Ready to use all the energy it takes to adjust to change.

So, my take away from this idea is that, when I am feeling overwhelmed, I try to remind myself that there is a constant undercurrent of tired, stressed out, “ready” energy contributing to feeling overwhelmed. The Now Normal is exhausting and, frankly, not necessary. Growth and change are important but, in many ways, it’s contributing to a break down of some of the social, personal and societal good. Good makes us feel good. But, of course, none of this is up to me. The only thing I can control is how I respond to it.