The New Normal
- Published on Thursday, 07 June 2012
- By: Clark Vandeventer
- 6 Comments
What’s the new normal? I’m hearing it’s high unemployment figures, high gas prices, high healthcare costs, high education costs, rising food costs, rising personal debt, rising public debt, and rising cost of living.
The new normal sounds like it just sucks.
I was thinking about the new normal this week as I considered what’s become the new normal for our family.
How often do you wake up to an alarm?
I’m asking the question because it has a lot to do with our new normal. I got to thinking about this after I was subtly awakened from a night of sleep when I heard our 4-year-old son Jackson quietly playing with a new favorite toy in our hotel room at 8:30 in the morning. I woke up, checked my email and responded to a few messages. A few things out on Facebook and Twitter. Moments later I’m in the hotel pool with the kids. A while later Monica joins us and we all have breakfast poolside. Monica gets in the pool with the kids, I do a little more work at the computer, and soon we are at Disneyland for the day.
This is normal.
I was reminded of this thought this morning when I got out of bed at 8:40. Actually, I’d been awakened 90 minutes earlier by a gardner. After leaving Disney, we crashed at my wife’s uncle’s house in Pasadena and his gardner truly does believe that the early bird gets the worm. And apparently the bushes outside our window really needed trimmed. But once the gardner was done I caught some more zzz’s.
Just the day before we’d thought we’d crash one night in Pasadena and then make our way home to Tahoe. But both feeling like we could use a little more screen time to do some work we decided to stay an extra day in Pasadena. We each had a few business calls. Monica was on a webinar. And we are involved in a little business with Monica’s uncle so the extra time with him was time well spent. The bulk of our day, however, was spent exploring and enjoying the beautiful Huntington Gardens and then playing in the pool at the uncle’s house. Jackson jumped off a diving board for the first time! Emery jumped in the pool for the first time with no swim-aid (which meant that I quickly dived in after her). We all enjoyed a great dinner together afterwards.
This is the new normal.
I ask the alarm question because the lack of an alarm in my life has meant a lot to the low-key feel nature of our days. Some of my other favorite bloggers who are also writing about lifestyle design like Justin at the Great Family Escape or Greg at Discover Share Inspire are very much morning people. So if you’re getting up early in the morning don’t think that I’m getting on your case. If getting up early works for you then I am happy for you.
It’s just that after years of setting an alarm and being driven by a to-do list it now feels good to not set an alarm.
After years of being driven by a tight schedule it now feels good to be here in Pasadena and say, “yeah, let’s stay another night… why not? Sounds fun…“
The freelance, patchwork income approach to life does have it’s drawbacks. Work can be slow, clients can be slow to pay, and I don’t have an employer saying, “hey’s here’s a great big healthcare plan for ya!” Because there are drawbacks, I want to fully enjoy all the benefits. The benefits are waking up at 8:30 in the morning or deciding to spend an extra night in Pasadena. It’s about freedom. It’s about Disneyland on Monday and Tuesday. It’s the Huntington on Wednesday morning and playing in the pool on Wednesday afternoon. And it’s not vacation. It’s just life.
It’s the new normal.
I don’t have life figured out. I am not a guru. I’m on a journey. I am trying to live very intentionally and trying to arrange my life so that it reflects what I value most. Join me on the journey.