my dharma journey to mental healthiness

i’ve always hated normal

The title of this post pretty much sums up my life. Well, it would if I’d been able to live my life both non-normally and productively. Given that I’ve been unable to do with my life what I’d have like to have done with my life, I can’t say I’ve lived normally or otherwise.

I’ve lived broken and lost. Which, sad to say, is the normal for far too many humans. Another reason to hate normal.

Mask mandates in Oregon ended a week ago. People think we’re back to normal, or getting there. That well may be true, but I don’t think the normal we’re heading towards is what people assume it will be. We’ll never return to 2019 or earlier. We probably won’t be living like the middle of 2020, either, hunkering down at home with no idea what the hell is going on and what the best way to respond to it is.

But until 90% of the world takes covid as seriously as it deserves, we’re going to be bouncing from lockdown to false opening and back again. New variants will arise, deaths will shoot up, and governments will scramble to contain the damage. Until we treat covid like smallpox, or even the flu at the very least, we will continue to dance to its hideous tune.

Normal is not going to be a nice to live in the coming years. And that’s without the possibility of Putin nuking Europe.

I’m ok living in this abnormal normality. Face masks are irritating but I’ve worn glasses for bad eyesight my whole life, so I’m used to an irritating thing stuck to my face without end. I’m 65, working a part-time retail job I enjoy, so I’m not really impacted by whatever measures need to be taken. My sons, their wives, and my grandkids, however are. My ex-daughter-in-law has a brother with the potential to be harmed. I know others who may not be safe.

I can hide from whatever fresh hell the Covidiots deliver unto us. (I like that term. No, it’s not nice, but it does seem apt.) The majority of people cannot. As a result, along with political and economic instability, the mental health of most people is being compromised. I got into mental health care at the very start of the pandemic, so my trajectory is the opposite.

So I can hide away from most of the hellishness, but I can’t hide from myself, and doing nothing if I can do something is not acceptable. If I allow that to be my normal, I’ll really hate normal. I cannot do much at this point, but I can start in my little corner of the world and build from there. It’s not easy for me, given my life history, but it’s doable.

In short, I can choose to make my normal be the lifestyle I want it to be. That means my normal has to be brave, it has to be committed, and it has to start now. I don’t like a normal of hiding or being steam-rolled by life. I have a dream of what I want my life to be, even in the time of covid, and my efforts have to be to convert that dream to a normal lifestyle.