I heard someone talking about the upcoming Olympics and realized I was in London, as a spectator, less than four years ago. The timing seems impossible as it was right after the last Olympics that I experienced a deep personal setback that hit me emotionally, financially, and spiritually, and surely it takes more than four years to rebuild from something like that. Then again, had I put the same time and effort spent rebuilding my life and my children’s lives into perfecting my athletic skills, I might be off to Rio with a decent shot at gold.
Happily, I’m at a point now where the crises of the last four years are over. If I’m to believe a psychic I saw (and after forking over $200, why would I not?) the chaos is over for good. I wake up most mornings and realize that the most dramatic thing I need to handle is watching the latest installment of The Bachelorette while drinking a glass of rosé. You’d think this would come as a huge relief but instead it’s quite unsettling.
After a crisis, it’s surprisingly hard to adjust to normal life.
Don’t get me wrong–crisis sucks–but when you’re in crisis mode, the only thing you must handle is the crisis. You don’t need to worry about your investment strategy, or pesticides, or the diameter of your waist. You don’t bother with things like To Do lists. (Writing down “File a restraining order” or “Go to chemo” on your cute Kate Spade Dear Me paper, just feels sort of wrong.) The only normal activity one can’t ignore is the ever-present laundry. I’m quite convinced that in the midst of the apocalypse, I’ll be asked to throw in one more load.
Once you’ve been through a crisis, it takes a while for the body to adjust. Now, when I engage in normal activities, like helping the kids with math homework or mowing the lawn, my mind goes searching for drama: My kids will fail school! I might get lyme disease from the grass! I think it takes a while before normal feels normal again.
I try to practice normalcy. I go to the gym, write on a schedule, and have walks and lunches with friends. I do regular things, like washing the dishes, that are so commonplace, even my anxious mind can’t convince me of trouble. I also do a lot of that Eckhart Tolle “woo woo” thing to distinguish my thoughts from my self. I censor myself from viewing potentially upsetting content. The only thing I can watch on Netflix right now is the documentary on Christian Dior.
This year, when the Olympic games kick off, I will be nowhere near Brazil. I will not have to worry about Zika virus or terrorism. I can put up my feet, pull out some chips, and engage in nationalistic pride from the comfort of my sofa. Hopefully, I can simply enjoy being normal this time.