In this post, I was talking about the gap that occurs between what we accept as “done with therapy” and “back to normal”. For a visual of this, let’s return to our super awesome graph of amazingness:
As a quick review, the blue dots are our “normal”, the red dots are people with injuries, the dark black line is often where insurance says, “good enough”, and the yellow area is the gap that remains and that needs to be addressed further.
I still think this model is missing a very important point. There is a deeper reason for my referring to “normal” in quotations, beyond lax grammatical usage. It’s huge, and for me, it is the reason for writing a blog like this, and for trying to break out of the current healthcare box and keep pushing for more.
“Normal” is not good enough.
That’s right. Our current normal stinks. “Normal” is just like everyone else, or at least the average of everyone else, and so we accept things like nagging pain every day. We accept being sore when we get out of bed. We accept poor range of motion. So what if we can’t reach all the way overhead? Neither can 80% of the other people we know and a lot of them are worse than us, so we’re good, right?
Our current normal comes from habits and patterns that we all do as a society. It is normal not only to wear shoes, but typically to wear shoes where the heel is higher than the toes. This has a lot of biomechanical implications, but we don’t think anything of it, because it is our “normal”. We sit in chairs a vast majority of the day, and if we move, we move forward on flat, level surfaces. We don’t miss the lack of variety with movement, because this is also “normal”. This is what we see everyone else doing, and we don’t think that there is any need to do things differently.
We do know that we need to move. Many of us do have sports and physical activities that we greatly enjoy. Still, even for those of us that are more active than average, if we “work out” an hour a day, that’s still only 4% of our day. What about the other 96%?
The whole point of this blog is to address going beyond normal and reaching for optimal. What does that look like, and where do we begin, and how do we make it serve our life rather than be another drain on our time? Therefore, I am not going to get into the specifics of any of that in this post. This post is to get us thinking about what “normal” really means and is that good enough for what we want from our lives?
One more visual:
What if, instead “normal”, we want to be the green? I think that it’s within our grasp. Yes, there is work involved, and it’s harder than we think. Not harder in terms of pushing as hard as possible, but harder in that we have to be patient and look for optimal in a lot of small ways before it adds up to big changes. As one friend says, “It’s easy to do hard. It’s hard to do smart.”
As I have said before, I don’t have all the answers, but I’ve found some that work really well, and I’m here to keep searching for deeper understanding and better results. I’m here to share what I find and resources for those that want to keep looking for more.