Katherine and I have been married for six months now, and probably the most surprising thing about marriage thus far is just how normal it feels. I don’t mean that as a bad thing; actually, it’s quite the opposite. I thought that such a huge life change would come with a good deal of discomfort and even some growing pains, but actually, it’s felt completely natural.
The move. The new rhythm. The chores. The whole “sharing a bed with another person” thing. All of it has felt perfectly normal every step of the way, and I love that.
Truth is, I can’t imagine my life being any different than it is right now. I love my routine. I love where I live. I love what I do. I love everything about it. This feels like the way my life should be.
Of course, I could have said the same about my life a year ago. Back then, I was content. I loved my life, and I couldn’t imagine it being any different. It felt normal to me.
But looking back on it now, I can’t imagine going back to living the way I did then. It’s hard to believe that I ever did. A year ago, I was living with my dad. I had two monthly bills I was responsible for: Netflix and my phone. The most valuable thing I owned was my movie collection. And I was waking up early every morning to pick up my then fiancé from her dad’s house for work. That life feels so abnormal to me now, but it felt right back then.
Katherine and I hope to someday have children, and when we do, we’ll look back on this time of life and think about how weird it seems. Parenting will feel normal, and this care-free, newlywed life will be completely foreign to us. We’ll wonder, “What did we do with all that free time?” and then we’ll remember we spent most of it binge-watching TV.
I think our brains are (for the most part) really good at adjusting to our current circumstances and convincing us that they are normal. I’m grateful that our brains do this for us, because it allows us to face reality and to function within it. Better to live out the life you have than to spend all your time dreaming of another, right? This is a wonderful tool for human resilience.
But it comes at a cost. Because if we’re not careful, it can take away the awe that our lives should inspire within us.
In reality, no phase of life is normal. Each one is special, unique, and wonderful in its own way. And if we don’t take the time to recognize that and appreciate where we are, we’ll soon find that it’s too late. Life will have moved on, and us with it.
Our lives are meant to be more than just a series of phases that pass us by like a blur. They’re meant to be rich, full, and fully lived. That’s not to say that every moment is easy; it’s certainly not. But no matter what phase of life you find yourself in, there are opportunities for joy, for growth, and for fulfillment. Choosing to pursue those opportunities is what makes each phase enjoyable.
As mundane as it may feel, your life is not normal. It’s one-of-a-kind, it’s ripe with prospects, and it’s yours to do with what you will. In a word, it’s awesome, meaning that it has the ability to inspire awe in you if you’ll only let it. The choice is really up to you.
I’ll say it again: I love my life. I feel like I’m exactly where I’m meant to be right now. And that is a very reassuring feeling. But that doesn’t mean that my life will always be this way, so I’m trying to be intentional and enjoy this phase for all it’s worth. I’m sure the next phase will be just as wonderful—if not more so—but for now, I’m just living my “normal” life and loving it. I hope you are, too.