Normalcy is a Delusion. Change is Normal. Adaptation Happens. Always.

Stephen Chamberlin
7 min readNov 25, 2020
Unsplash / Jessica Tan / Normal?

“America’s present need is not heroics, but healing; not nostrums, but normalcy; not revolution, but restoration; not agitation, but adjustment; not surgery, but serenity; not the dramatic, but the dispassionate; not experiment, but equipoise; not submergence in internationality, but sustainment in triumphant …” — Warren Harding

“An abnormal reaction to an abnormal situation is normal behavior.” — Victor Frankel

Unsplash/ Thiebaid Faix / Not Normal

I thought it appropriate to reflect on the words of (first) one of our more obscure presidents and, (second) a man who endured and survived the Holocaust.

Harding was addressing a nation coming off not only the 1918 Influenza pandemic but also World War I. He was widely castigated for his lack of vision, but I think most of us can, at this moment, appreciate his message.

Frankel, of course, made it through perhaps the worst circumstances that a human being can withstand. Enormous uncertainty and fear were part of the fabric of daily life in both contexts. We are living through a period of uncertainty and fear now. I thought it worth writing a few words on normalcy.

I recall from my Coast Guard days, that one of the objectives to any national disaster response was to assist effected communities in regaining a sense of ‘normalcy’. Routine, ritual, the familiar — all of these decrease the feeling of uncertainty inherent in a crisis and increase a sense of control over one’s life.

All of that said, I suspect many people whose routines have been turned upside down by the pandemic have — over the course of months — developed routines and rituals that take the edge off a period of indefinite turbulence. Personally, I find that even a rigid control freak like me can find routine in abnormal or novel circumstances.

Being Alive Means Constant Change followed By Adaptation to the Change. This is Normal!

Stephen Chamberlin

Oldish guy, trying his hand at something new. Retired Coast Guard Officer. Now self-employed in the wine and spirits industry.