Getting Your Life Back to Normal
From time to time situations occur in our lives that force us out of our regular routines. We temporarily are faced with making changes that we resist. These changes are forced upon us as a result of adversity in our lives.
Illness, injury, loss of a loved one, work changes, divorce, and bankruptcy can all lead to a sudden realization that our lives have changed. We are resistant, wanting our lives back again the way they were. We want to be “normal” again. We want our lives to be as they were: fully functioning; doing the things we used to do; sleeping through the night; eating. We shudder at the thought that we will never be “normal” again.
My life drastically changed in 1998 after a spinal cord injury that paralyzed me from the waist down. My injury was caused by a 7,000-pound tree that fell on me while riding my bicycle. The sudden change in my life caused me to grieve my loss and desperately cling to thoughts of returning to the life I lived before my injury. I told my physical therapist, “I want my life back.” I struggled each day as I tried to do my daily self-care and be mobile.
What I have learned is that “normal” can be defined by each individual and redefined throughout life. As we change, so should our perceptions of what is “normal.” Being a person with a disability means I am no longer able to do certain things like walk, jog, and run. Being disabled doesn’t imply that I am not normal. I got my life back, but getting it back exactly as it was before my injury is unlikely.
Life for me has returned to normal. I have had to adapt and modify how I do things like drive a car with hand controls and navigate in my wheelchair. I have had to give up doing some things like rollerblading and hiking and substitute doing other activities like working out at the gym.
I returned to my career as a professional speaker a few months after coming home from the hospital in 1998 and am making a living. I have a loving relationship with my husband. I take care of our home, travel, and enjoy recreational sports. I have my life back. It’s just different now.
As you ponder your life after adversity, think about what returning to normal would mean for you. What modifications in your lifestyle will need to be made? What adaptations would help you to be more productive? What would make you happy again? What is limiting you from getting your life back? What can you do to make the first step towards getting back to normal?
You need to redefine what is normal. Living your life differently doesn’t mean you are abnormal. You have to make a change. You must be willing to accept how things are for now in your life and move on. Your attitude about making the changes that will be needed must be positive and you must be open to possibilities.
You are probably not the only person who has ever had this adversity in their life. Others have learned how to cope with change and get on with their lives. They redefined normal.
A normal person is well adjusted, capable of adapting themselves to life and what comes their way. Life is unpredictable and uncertain. We need to live life in the now. Life is not a dress rehearsal.
Byline: Rosemarie Rossetti, Ph.D. is an agent of change who works with organizations and corporations to help them embrace change, improve performance, and achieve goals. www.RosemarieSpeaks.com