"Normal" is defined as "conforming to a standard; usual, typical, or expected." Anyone with cancer will tell you, that there's nothing "usual or typical or expected" about the disease, so the word "normal" shouldn't be used in the same context.
However, now that I'm over three years into this life with cancer, I can say that I have a degree of normalcy. Any treatment I use has a general standard of response and I now pretty much know what to expect from my days. They are typically uneventful and usual and tick along as expected. Sure, I may have different experiences than others, but life with cancer has become "normal" for me.
I've heard others say, "I don't want a new normal ... I want the old normal. I want my old life."
Yes, sometimes, I feel that way, too. At times, I desperately miss the old life I had.
But, there's no reset button for normal. Even if I could go back to my life of over three years ago, it wouldn't be the same. I can't go back to the way things were because they aren't. I've changed and the people in my old life have changed as well.
In spite of having cancer, I think I can genuinely say that this 50s decade of my life is the best decade, so far. I have an amazing life. It's not perfect and there are most definitely things I'd change, but there are many things I wouldn't change.
My life is likely to be shorter than most. I don't have time to lament the loss of what used to be considered normal. I do have time to embrace my current normal, because who knows when that will change and yet a different normal is needed?
Instead of looking for a reset button and instead of hovering over the pause button, I'm pushing "play" with all my energy, pressing on towards the finish line. I don't want to spend my time living only in yesterday (although, nostalgia has its place!), but to look forward to what is ahead, all the while living and loving in the present.
I'm learning it's not the big things that matter, but the entire collection of little things measuring up to a big thing matters. I don't have everything right, nor am I doing things perfectly. But, I think I can say with confidence, that I'm living life out loud. It is my constant prayer that I also love out loud and that my thoughts and actions toward people be a reflection of God's glory.