"Life is an ever-present emergency for all too many of our fellow-creatures."--Harry Blamires
If we wait for a perfect time to execute our midlife plans, we will wait an awful long time.
Those who expect some hard times are both better prepared for them and more grateful for their counterparts.
The Myth of Normalcy
Concerned over an important business appointment on Tuesday, a 45-year-old corporate manager cancels a weekend fishing trip with his teen-age sons.
Worried about caring for her aging parents, a 39-year-old single mother delays going back to school for still another year.
When their teen daughter gets pregnant and drops out of school, a midlife couple begins avoiding their friends.
At 50, an avid golfer and recent stroke victim refuses to exercise until he can play 18 holes again.
If you ask these people, all of them will tell you they have put their lives on hold until things return to normal. But just what is normal?
"Do we not feel it more natural for things to go right than for things to go wrong?" says British writer Harry Blamires. After explaining that the end of World War II did not restore a utopian normalcy to Britain, Blamires writes,
"There may not be a `Law of Maximum Bloodiness,' but there is certainly no `Law of Optimum Luck.' The `state of emergency' does not end when war gives place to peace . . . Life is an ever-present emergency for all too many of our fellow-creatures."
What Blamires calls the "Law of Optimum Luck" I call the myth of normalcy. If we are honest, most of us believe that our present difficulties in life are a passing aberration. They will be resolved, and life will be normal again--meaning painless, worry-free and happy.
Don't put your life on hold.
But the truth is that if we wait for a perfect time to execute our midlife plans, we will wait an awful long time.
If family outings are important to us, we will have to take them even when we're too busy. If retraining and more schooling are necessary for a better tomorrow, we'll have to fit them into our responsibilities today.
Don't judge success prematurely.
Those of us who have many children will be the first to tell you; our kids rarely all do well at the same time. It seems someone is always in crisis.
And those sons and daughters who do achieve success, do not arrive without some failure along the way. In fact, with ours, some of the greatest successes have come on the heals of the most painful failures.
Parents who compute their own worth on the daily performance of teen-age children will rarely feel good about themselves. Normalcy for parents of teens--even very good parents--is not perfect kids. It was not so for your own parents, nor for their parents before them.
Seize the day.
Today may not be the "normal" hassle-free day we imagined it would be, but it is the only day we have been given. And it does have its share of good things to be enjoyed.
A recovering stroke victim may not be able to play a full round of golf yet, but life has much more to offer than that. In fact, sometimes it takes losing abilities to find new ones--talents and pleasures we would never have uncovered in a perfect ("normal") world.
Actually, rejecting the myth of normalcy will make us more optimistic people in the long run. Those who expect a perfect world will be frequently disappointed and often end life as pessimists.
But those who expect some hard times are both better prepared for them and more grateful for their counterparts. In a normal world, good times are special gifts and should be humbly received and fully enjoyed.
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