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What the Heck is Normal?!

There's a lot for a Midway Woman to notice ... this is the term I use to describe a woman over 45 as she begins to be aware of changes both within and without. It's a time when shift occurs as in, shift happens (we've all seen that bumper sticker, right?). Things get shaken up. We think we're sailing merrily along and then, the kids (if we have them) are "suddenly" out of the house and off to college or their own exploration. Our bodies are changing and we might find ourselves more easily gaining weight (for example) and it's disconcerting. Retirement might be entering the conversation we have with ourselves or our husbands/partners and, of course, this is when the "Bucket List" becomes a hot topic. We know that there's a whole lot of life ahead of us (or, at least we hope so!) and it also feels like it might be time to pause, just for a bit, before we continue forward. This just might be the time to have a "life by design, not by default", especially if we feel like we've been living a little bit more for others than for ourselves.

One thing I love about being "Midway" is that many women find a new boldness. Since we're usually more acutely aware of time passing we start to pay more attention to the present moment. Little things that used to be a bother to us fall away and there's a sense of urgency to take care of things we might have let slide. For many women, this is when they decide to look for more meaning in their lives.

The quote I sent out on Monday was from one of my favorite, wise women, Maya Angelou:

"If you're always trying to be normal, you will never know

how amazing you can be."

As I thought about that and why it rang true for me, I realized that being "normal" implies staying small, not rocking the boat, not drawing attention and maybe even fading into the woodwork. If you're "normal", nobody will criticize you or find fault (just remember, anyone who does that -- well, it's all about them, not you!). Last week I heard two women, at different times, under different circumstances, say that they "didn't want to get in trouble"! Oh, my! In both situations they were choosing not to take the initiative to act in someone's best interest.

I know that as kids growing up, especially as girls, we were encouraged to "behave", speak softly, and color inside the lines -- that was considered normal. We learned to be afraid of upsetting the grownups, especially those in authority who were often men. Girls were supposed to be sugar and spice and everything nice, while boys got away with being snips and snails and puppy dog tails. Wow! It makes sense of the current news headlines (as much as they can make sense).

I pretty much relish the tabu/taboo, especially as I've pushed the envelope with age. The definition of tabu is, "prohibited, disallowed, or forbidden". I would add, "not normal". I'm not talking about something that's unlawful -- I'm referring to being unconventional, stepping into the unknown, and expanding your consciousness.

As long as you aspire to be "normal", you'll never really know what you're made of or just how extraordinary you really are. Now is the time to stop doing what's expected and step into being remarkable. I promise you, spectacular and phenomenal are so much more satisfying than normal. This is what I wish for you.


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About the Author




Barbara L Cummings, MS, RN

is a sassy Queen-ager whose mission is to co-create a happier, healthier life with and for others.

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