Normal

I just want to be normal.

That is what I found myself telling my women’s group last week. Three years of struggling with anxiety and depression have left me with one overriding desire: to have a normal life free of the fear that ruins so many of my days.

I was surprised when a woman present said that all she had wanted was to be normal too – in this case with her second pregnancy which apparently had a lot of bumps and didn’t go according to plan. “We all just want to be normal,” she said.

Is that so? It had never occurred to me that other people might be struggling to be normal in different aspects of their lives. Yet this woman clearly wanted to have a “normal” pregnancy and didn’t get it. Maybe some of you are trying to have a “normal” marriage or “normal” children against the odds.

It’s easy to take normal for granted when you have it. I rarely appreciate that I have normal kids or a normal marriage. (Actually both are far better than normal.)

But when you lack normalcy in some aspect of your life it becomes the one thing you crave. To be like other people – mundane as it sounds – to have a “regular” life. I wish all the time that my life were like someone else’s.

Normal – it sounds so boring except when you don’t have it.

At least after the lunch I know I’m not alone in my struggle. I may want different things than you do because what I’m missing is different. But many of us are struggling to normalize some aspect of our lives that doesn’t look like other people’s or doesn’t fit our expectations.

There’s comfort in that and in remembering that while you are struggling with one part of your life, you may have just the normal existence in another that makes you the envy of others.

In a sense, we are all trying hard just to lead “regular” lives. Society may tell us to be superstars but what many of us crave is the mundane. Normal can be good enough. In fact, normal can be reason for gratitude.

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Are you struggling for normalcy in some aspect of your life? Share by commenting below!

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                                                                                      Photo © Konstantin Sutyagin

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  • Nancy

    February 15, 2017 at 5:08 pm
    Reply

    Eloquent. Normal. Today? Yesterday? Tomorrow? What is normal?

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About Jennifer

A former journalist for The Wall Street Journal and Time, Jennifer is the award-winning author of Beyond One: Growing a Family and Getting a Life and pens the MidAge Mom blog.

She’s profiled exceptional women from the Middle East to Latin America. Widely published, her essays have been included in two anthologies.

Jennifer is also a frequent radio and TV guest. Full Bio

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In Beyond One, Jennifer chronicles her leap from one child to two, describing the enormous impact the second child has on a woman’s body, marriage, family life, friendships and work.

"Hull is the kind of woman many moms long to be friends with. . ." -The Cleveland Plain Dealer.

Credits

The Wall Street Journal, Time, The Atlantic Monthly, CNN.com, MS., Parenting, Real Simple, Salon.com, The Los Angeles Times Magazine, Working Mother, Harper’s Bazaar, Marie Claire, American Way, Brain, Child, The Christian Science Monitor, and more.