Monday, June 16, 2008

My New Normal

For a few months, I've been taking a class at the gym called Group Power. It's a lifting class using a bar and weight plates and enough reps to make the sweat drip down your face. The format is always the same -- warm-up, legs, chest, back & legs, triceps, biceps, lunges, shoulders, core and stretch. And you do the same routine for three months. The idea is, by the end of the three month session, you've built up strength and increased your weight factor.

The way you remember what weight you should use is judged by your "normal" weight. Your normal weight is the weight you use during warm up. For every exercise, you either add or subtract from your normal weight. And, by the end of the three month session, you should be using a "new normal."

I tell you all of this to illustrate how amazingly adaptive the human animal is. You see, my life is experiencing a "new normal."

I've been living the past few months as if I were all settled. I love my home, I love my hometown. I mostly like my job. I had a budget and a plan for the future. And then, there was this re-org. And news of possible layoffs. And news that my head was very likely on the chopping block.

And so, for almost two weeks, I've been living in this zone of not knowing what's around the corner. Do I have a job? Will I be able to keep my apartment? Will I be able to afford yoga? A vacation? A haircut? Food? Every moment is filled with uncertainty, equal parts doubt and hope.
But, somehow, I've become accustomed to this new life of constant stress and anxiety. It's become my new normal.

I can't - of course - equate it to people living in war zones or disaster epicenters. Except, it kind of is. In all cases, people find ways to muddle through, adapt, make the best, keep on keepin on. My situation is no where near as dire, heroic, or valiant, as theirs. But the principle is the same.

The only solace I am finding in any of this is that, if we keep adapting to our new normals, we will, indeed, grow stronger.

"One must imagine Sisyphus happy."