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Theory vs Practice: What is "Normal?"

I’ve been thinking about this a lot. What is “normal?” There really isn’t one normal, it’s likely very different for each person. And, right now a lot of us are thinking about getting back to normal now that the world is opening up a bit in places. The pandemic isn’t over yet but things are looking up, at least in my part of the world it seems to be.

That being said I’m having an interesting and overwhelming time with the concept of “getting back to ‘normal.’” First and foremost I want to honor my introvert, but we (my introvert and I) are both still very new at navigating in person interactions with introversion in mind.

I am just coming off of a very busy week plus of socializing in person. We had family over from both sides and some friends over at some point as well. I also had my first dining out experience since the pandemic started. Suffice to say, I’m feeling a bit overwhelmed at the moment and am also trying to be attentive to how my nervous system has handled all of this...the answer is maybe not as well as I’d like.

It was only at the beginning of the stay-at-home orders that I actually realized (again) that I was, in fact, an introvert. I’ve already written a bit about how it shouldn’t have surprised me as much as it did...yet here we are. Throughout the social distancing I’ve been a bit worried about balancing everything. I don’t want to return to my previous normal; honestly I know I cannot do that to myself. And yet, finding that balance is going to be tricky, I’ve got years of habit that a year-plus of hermitage won’t override.

So that is how I found myself agreeing to probably too much too soon and too quickly. To the friends and family that have come to see us, do understand that this is not me saying that you shouldn’t have come. I love you and I want to see you. This is me realizing that I need to learn to better take care of myself and listen to my nervous system when it says too much is too much.

In theory, after months of not seeing our friends and family it was easy to see a future of easing back into things and it going easily and, dare I say, perfectly. In practice, not so much. It’s messy, and I think I’ve been hiding in my books and introversion from the fact that I need to learn as much as I theorize, and practice is where that learning happens.

What I want to say is that theory vs practice will look different for every person, but my advice is to give yourself some grace. There will probably be some missteps in getting back to normal, if that is your goal, or some mistakes in trying to realize a new(new) normal. Life is messy; it will be OK. Try to trust the journey and the process.

with <3

—A Recovering Design Imposter


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