New normal is a term that's bandied about a lot, but to me it needs to be retired. Wikipedia says that new normal implies that something which was previously abnormal has become commonplace.
OK. Makes sense. But I still don't like the term.
For one thing, what the heck is "normal"? Often this word is used in a moralistic or judgmental sense that is much different from, say, a doctor informing a patient that her test results are normal -- meaning, within a typical range.
Not long ago normal sex was considered to be between a man and a woman, not two men or two women (much less additional combinations that are familiar to any viewer of porn videos). Now most Americans have broadened their view on this.
Also, "new normal" presumes that our lives go along in pretty much of a steady state until some rare jolt pushes us into another manner of living.
Well, I don't know about you, but I can say that my own life has been marked by many episodes that I never thought of marking a new normal, because I hadn't considered my previous state of being solidly fixed in place.
I've gotten married. Then divorced. And married again.
I've had a child. Who grew up. And had her own child.
I've worked at various jobs. Until I retired.
I believed strongly in an Eastern form of religion. Then I deconverted from it.
I've enjoyed good health. Until I got a chronic condition. But I'm still otherwise healthy.
I've lived in cities. Then the country. Might move back to a city one day.
It's tough for me to point to any point in my life when things were so stable, inside or outside of my psyche, that I could confidently say "This was my normal time."
Further, I've never liked the general notion of normality -- at least when applied to human lives. As noted above, often "that's not normal!" is used as a personal insult, not a dispassionate observation about behavior that lies outside of some statistical average.
Albert Einstein wasn't normal. Barack Obama isn't normal. Martin Luther King wasn't normal. Lady Gaga isn't normal.
Exceptional people aren't normal by definition.
Thus it shouldn't bother us when our own life is viewed by other people as "abnormal," so long as we are content with ourselves and aren't causing harm to others. Yet as Wikipedia observes, new normal typically is viewed as a change from a more desirable to a less desirable state of affairs.
Well, who's to say?
Why don't we speak of people having to adjust to a new normal when they fall in love, get a promotion, lose 30 pounds, or graduate from college?
Each of these experiences, or milestones, is a marked deviation from a previous way of being. They require adjustments, fresh thinking and acting, lifestyle course corrections. Yet rarely, if ever, do we hear talk of these sorts of events requiring a transition to a "new normal."
In my view this is because most of us have an understandable bias toward positivity. We consider that life should be a mostly continuous upward path that leads toward more happiness, more contentment, more success, more...more...more.
This isn't usually the case, though. Ups and downs are ubiquitous. Disappointments, commonplace. Unwelcome surprises, a regular occurrence.
Since longterm normality is abnormal in most people's lives, I'd like to see "new normal" pitched into a cultural wastebasket. There are better terms, for sure. Here's some suggestions:
Latest turn in life's path