What is normal anyway?

Have you ever found yourself saying, “I just want to be normal again”? I find myself doing it often when talking about the business of being ill after my mold exposure at work. For me normal was fourteen years ago before I began getting sick in 1999.  The normal then was coloring or highlighting my hair, wearing my contacts, putting on make-up, having manicures and pedicures, wearing clothes right off the rack of the store without worry of chemicals and fragrances, and more frightening wearing clothes from the dry cleaners.  Normal was meeting friends for dinner, taking long walks, traveling with my girlfriend in her plane, spending the day shopping in the mall and eating lunches out with the girls.  Normal was being able to travel anywhere I wanted and staying in a hotel without worry about cleaning products, mold, and formaldehyde.  Normal was getting up and cleaning the entire house (all 2500 sq. feet of it) in one day.

For me I began getting sick in 1999 and walked through some sort of Twilight Zone Tunnel, if you will.  Then suddenly emerging  on the other side to where I am now fourteen years older.  It is as if that time of growing older didn’t happen yet I know it did just by looking at my body.

Is it realistic to say I want to be normal again?  The answer is not an easy yes or no.  Yes, I want to be normal in that I want many of the things I could do back again.  However, fourteen years has passed.  It is realistic to say I want normal and expect the normal from that time? No, it is not.  Despite the illness and all that goes with it, my body as aged as it would have had I not become ill.  My normal had I not become ill fourteen years ago would most definitely have been altered given the simple fact that as my body aged it would have brought limitations in movements and limitations in energy.

When we say normal, what are we really asking for?  Normal is really only relevant for a short period of time.  Normal is constantly changing as our bodies and the world around us changes.

How do you define normal?  When you say you want to be normal again, what normal are you asking for?  Is it the normal from years gone by?

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14 responses to “What is normal anyway?

  1. Well put

    For me like you said its the freedom and the care-free nature with which I was able to live

    Book a trip on a notice. See family and friends

    I definitely don’t want the chemicals back or the lack of awareness of what I’m eating and breathing, but id love to drop the anaphylaxis!!

  2. I realize and accept that I can never go back to my past normal before all these health issues. I will always have to deal with health issues, but hopefully not as many as I am now. Right now, I’m in a new normal for me, which will most definitely change in the future.

    • I, too, hope that the sensitivity and other issues will be less as I continually strive to be safer and take care of my body. I have learned to accept that I can’t go back but still miss what I was able to do. I am in a new normal as well and who knows what normal will be for me tomorrow, next week, or next year.

  3. Patricia Lush

    Well said Kathy! I have come to see recently that God has chipped away what I perceived as “normal” in my life before my mold exposure that in reality was actually toxic to me physically, emotionally, and spiritually. I am now in a much better place than ever before. Yes, I have health issues from the mold I did not have to be clear here, but this has caused me to take so much better care of myself physically in the past 5 years that I am now healthier than
    I would of been living the “normal life” I was living previous to my mold exposure.

    • I think because of our illnesses, no matter the cause, we learn to look at life differently. I realize now that I live so much cleaner than I ever did before also. It is when someone gets to do something that I can no longer participate in that the “idea” of normal rears its ugly head and I want to go back.

  4. I think if normal exists, it’s ever-evolving, and it’s different for everyone. For me, I don’t think of much – if anything – as normal. I don’t know that I even believe in normal.

    • Ellen, it has taken me a long time to realize what you are saying. Normal is ever-evolving! What may be normal today, most likely won’t be tomorrow. Thank you for sharing. I think I still believe in normal although it probably would be better for me emotionally if I didn’t.

  5. Well put Kathryn, you know my theory on life is that we all are a mere thread in the tapestry of life. What starts out as a norm eventually looses some of its masses and becomes frail and of course finally it will break. You and I have compared our journey, although they are from different events, to be similar. If we both received a miraculous cure would not return us to normal because we know the odds against maintaining that norm and we would be over-cautious. I’m just glad to see both of us as we are and cope with our handicaps in such positive ways. Keep up the good work, you will be rewarded for it some day.

    • Well said Rudi. I love how you compare life to a thread in the tapestry of life. Yes, I have said that even if there were a miraculous cure I don’t think I would live quite the same as I did before. Thank you for the positive words.

  6. I think many people perceive normal as what they think everyone else is doing. Because life is constantly changing, I have decided that normal is what you are able to do now and learning to be happy with your life as it currently is.

    • Normal is what you are able to do now. I know there is no going back to my “old normal” but I dream of what I had and what I have given up sometimes. It has taken a long time and writing my book as well as being in contact with others has helped me learn to be happy with who I am now. I am trying to break the habit of wishing for the old normal. Sometimes I say I just want to be normal, whatever normal is. Maybe that is a good beginning to accepting the new normal and letting go of the old normal.

  7. I would like to thank you all for your insightful comments about what normal is to you. In learning to accept wherever we are in life now as our normal, we are accepting our life in a much healthier way.

  8. “NORMAL”—- oh– the word many of my dear friends have always said to me— “SONDA — YOU DO REALIZE YOU ARE NOT NORMAL”!!!!!!!! 🙂 hee hee
    I do know what you are saying Kathryn!!!!! BUT — I have always been “the one” of my friends with the odd sense of humor– ready to try anything once– the ring leader–& now that is not as much my NORMAL!!! 🙂 MCS– HAS TOTALLY CHANGED MY LIFESTYLE–HOW I DO EVERYTHING– BUT– I AM NOT SAYING THAT IS ALL BAD– WE LIVE WITH OUT CHEMICALS– WE EAT NO CHEMICALS– WE LIVE A CLEANER- & MUCH MORE HEALTHY LIFESTYLE — & I THINK I HAVE A LOT MORE COMPASSION FOR OTHERS WITH HEALTH PROBLEMS– & NOW MY GOAL IN LIFE– IS TO EDUCATE OTHERS ABOUT THE HORRIBLE EFFECTS TO ALL OF US IN THIS WORLD FROM THE TOXIC CHEMICAL USE– HOW IT EFFECTS OUR AIR SUPPLY– OUR WATER SUPPLY & OUR FOOD SUPPLY & EVERYONE’S HEALTH IF THEY REALIZE IT OR NOT!!!! NORMAL– MY NORMAL– I DON’T THINK HAS EVER BEEN ANYONE ELSE’S NORMAL!! AND I AM GLAD FOR THAT!!! 🙂 hee hee

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