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What Exactly is “Normal”, Anyway?

It all depends on your perspective and experiences.

Whether you are a resolution maker or not, there is something refreshing about the turn of the calendar to start a new year. This time around, as we reflect on last year and look hopefully towards the new one, the word “normal” comes to mind.

New normal.

Not normal.

Return to normal.

Normal routine.

Ever notice the word “normal” starts with “no”? Maybe it’s because there is NO normal that is right for exactly everyone. 😉

Returning to what used to be isn’t good enough. We can – and must – raise our standards.

Do you feel good?

Are you satisfied with your current health status?

Is sleep, eating nutritiously, and being active “normal” for you?

Is at least part of your day-to-day inspiring you?

Have you achieved everything you can in your current situation?

Is your LinkedIn profile, resume, and CV up to date?

Is your kitchen stocked with all five food groups (fruits, veggies, grains, protein, dairy)?

Do you have pots and pans, measuring cups and spoons, storage containers, a good can opener, and whatever else you need to make cooking efficient and fun?

Is your house clean?

Are you active every day?

Do you wash your hands?

Do you value – and make time for – enough sleep?

So many questions – and this isn’t even all of them. (I LOVE questions because they get us to answers. Seems obvious. It’s not.)

I’m not a doctor, nor am I able to answer questions for you. What I can do is put them here for you to percolate on, just like I like to do.

Don’t strive to go backwards. Instead, let’s all look forward. Celebrate all the wonderful things we used to do and have. Then, take note of what maybe wasn’t so great so it can be addressed.

Spend your time on how YOU want to live, not on what other people are doing. It’s good to learn from each other and get new ideas. It’s not necessary to have us all do the same thing the same way.

Oh – and when it comes to food, there is no one way to eat. Your personal taste, budget, cooking skills, cultural background, willingness to try new food, medical history, family structure, access to grocery stores and online shopping, prescription medications (if you have any), and so many other things make what is “normal” different for each of us. Forget what anyone else does in terms of meal prep, cooking, and eating. The only reason you should be paying attention to what someone else is doing in these areas is because they might have a recipe that you want to try or an idea to use some of what you have in the fridge, too. It’s not a contest. It’s an idea. Same with food pictures – perhaps we can consider food shows and images as art – not as a paint-by-numbers scenario for your next meal or snack.

Make 2021 the year that your normal helps support all your goals and dreams.

What will you celebrate first?

By Kim Kirchherr

I am a dietitian working in food and fiber (agriculture) through retail, addressing opportunities to make things better for people and planet.