New Year, “New Normal??”

Another new year has arrived. I say, ” Bring it on; this year has to be better than the last.”

Why do we greet each new year with such anticipation and optimism for better things for ourselves, and even for a better world? Is is just wishful thinking this year will somehow be different? We say out loud or more quietly to ourselves this will be the year to finally lose those pounds, eat healthier, exercise more diligently, get organized, be a better spouse or parent, find that new job, take that trip, go back to college, the list goes on and on.

Why do so many of us continue to make resolutions, sometimes even the same ones, year after year? Why do we set ourselves up again and again for disappointment and failure? Statistics say most resolutions are broken even before the end of January. Why bother making them at all then?

Perhaps it’s because there really IS a chance this year will be different. As the New Year unfolds, we see ourselves finally succeeding at reaching our goals. The new year represents hope that we really can change for the better. Our vision, at least as January begins, is still clear, not yet  muddied or clouded by the day-to-day failures or disappointments, which are also sure to happen each year.

2011 feels even more like a clean slate for me. In some ways I feel as if I am quite literally starting over. I’ve been given a “new life,” or at least a new perspective. I’ve learned a lot through the past year, but still have a long way to go. I’m told I’m also supposed to be embracing my “new normal” and moving on.

I’m still not quite sure what my “new normal” is or what those words mean exactly. Sometimes the phrase annoys me. I never wanted a new normal. I never wanted breast cancer. I never wanted change, at least not this much. The phrase is supposed to be inspiring, or help you to accept your new reality, so that’s the way I keep trying to see it. I guess each person, not just those touched by cancer, must define what their own “new normal” is. In some ways I think my New Year’s resolutions and my “new normal” might be interchangeable. I definitely intend to live a healthier life style, no longer for vanity’s purpose, but survival. I want to keep writing this blog. I plan to finish my book (publishing it would be even better), I hope to be a better writer, spouse, parent, daughter, sibling, friend and person in general. I plan to pursue interests I enjoy and appreciate each day. I also resolve to live with faith, optimism and hope that I will remain cancer free.

I will not choose fear and worry (most of the time anyway) because they do not prevent bad things and disappointments from happening anyway.

As we all welcome in yet another year, I hope we are all inspired to envision a clean slate for ourselves, or yet another chance to achieve our dreams. It doesn’t really matter if you call your vision a New Year’s resolution or not. What matters is what you choose to do with the possibility, change, promise, hope and yes the challenges, too, this New Year once again brings with it.

Do you make New Year’s resolutions or look at the new year as a clean slate?



18 thoughts to “New Year, “New Normal??””

  1. Nancy, you said everything I’ve been thinking about recently. Yes, it’s the season for looking ahead, but as much as I try to live in the moment, I’m always looking ahead, regardless of the time of year. And you’re right, we can’t prevent the bad things. My resolution is to worry less, enjoy more; which means ignoring housework whenever possible. 🙂

    Happy New Year to you!

  2. I’m not a big fan of the new year’s resolution thing… I figure, if something is important enough, why wait until January 1st of the following year to start it? 🙂

    This will probably be my last comment for a while since I am heading to Belize! But if I can get internet access I will be in touch 🙂 xoxo

    1. Sami, Thanks for stopping by before your trip. Have a great time! Looking forward to hearing all about it! You are confronting such a worthwhile issue too. Good luck. Be safe.

  3. I look at every day as a fresh start, and every week and every month. And definitely every year! This year I have plans for managing my time better, relaxing more and taking a trip every quarter. I also have a plan to run a marathon in May, and I’m not quite sure how that fits in with relaxing more.

    1. Lindsay, I also look at each day as a fresh start. I’ve never been really big on making New Year’s resolutions, although every year I do say to myself I will try to be more organized, not much luck there yet. Good luck with accomplishing yours! Running a marathon is pretty impressive, I’m still considering the 10K.

  4. No New Year Resolutions for me this year Nancy. Somehow it is simply a matter of survival in very adverse conditions. Stay sane, hopeful and pain free is realistic. More is a bonus….
    May your New Year present you with all that you wish for yourself.

    1. Chez, Yes, I understand about the survival mode. I hope you do have a year with hope, less pain, and of course, sanity. ha! Thanks for your good wishes.

  5. I tend to think more in terms of each day as a new beginning, a fresh start, a chance to fix mistakes and embark on new challenges. I guess it’s because of cancer — it taught me nothing is a guarantee, and a year can become pretty daunting. A day, I can do!

    1. Jacki, Thanks for stopping by and leaving a comment. I think more in day-to-day terms as well. That way there are 365 opportunities for a fresh start!

  6. Something that I really learned last year, is that it’s just so important to keep moving forward no matter what. So that’s what I’ll be thinking about this year. Moving forward. I launched the new blog, now I have to work on making that snazzy red Karmann Ghia a reality 😉

    1. Anna, You are so right, we do have to keep moving forward no matter what. I love your idea for the new blog and will definitely be following it.

    1. Betty, Thanks for your comments and for sharing what you try to do, I think that is great advice! We shouldn’t obsess about the past or the future. Happy New Year to all of you guys!

  7. Hi Nancy, This is a great post. Especially poignant for me is how you write about the ‘new normal’. That concept always bothered me too. But now I see that everyone, not just cancer survivors, can take advantage of the ‘new normal’ idea. I think any time we go through some major life changes, and there can be lots of them out there, we can try to embrace that on the other side there will be a ‘new normal’. And perhaps we can look at is as a move forward, as part of the journey, as a positive ‘new me’. Not that there was anything wrong with the old me, but here I am growing, learning and changing, just as I mentioned in my latest entry on my blog:)
    Thanks so much for visiting and commenting on my blog. And thanks for sharing your journey here, and I pray it is a long one, for both of us!

    1. Debbie, I’m so glad you visited my blog and thanks for your comments. Moving forward is a good way to look at the new normal concept. Even if we don’t want to or don’t like the idea, we still have to do it and might as well make the best of it. Good advice.

  8. I just started reading your blog a couple of weeks ago and now am going back looking at older entries. Funny how I found this particular one today ~ I was “having a moment” and thinking about everything that happened the last six months of 2010, thinking that this year simply had to be better. After I read your post, I realized every day is a new, fresh start. I will survive the loss of my best friend and love this past year and I will survive the whole breast cancer thing. I won’t be the same person I was this time last year but I may be a new and improved person! Thanks for helping me see that ~ especially today!

    1. Donna, I am so happy you are reading new and old posts and finding them to be useful. That’s all I ever wanted from my blog. Yes, you will survive all that you must, including the whole breast cancer thing, as you call it. Sending you warm wishes and hopes for a better 2011!

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