After a few weeks of social isolation, we’re all itching to get back to normal. But slowly we’re realizing that the normal we left behind in March is no longer viable. Unemployment is rampant, long-standing businesses have shut their doors, and bills will soon come due. The landscape around us is changing; people are losing their lives/their loved ones while we stay locked behind closed doors. The future is uncertain.
In absence of our old “normal,” I wonder, how do we make normal better this time?
What does the world look like on the other side of the pandemic? What do you want to see?Leave a comment below.
For me, I expect a better collective understanding of grief. Right now, the American way of grieving is to be sad privately and get over it quickly. Though this period may be brief (hopefully), we will feel the aftershocks of this pandemic for years to come. Grief will be a major part of that process. Perhaps in the new world, we won’t rush each other to the “finish line” of our mourning (there is no finish line anyway), but embrace the discomfort of just being there for each other.
We will learn to endure the silence, especially for those we love. Sometimes, the only thing you can do for a friend is be present. We are all becoming familiar with the discomfort that comes from being still, with having to evaluate our inner thoughts without the external noise. It sucks, but challenges like the ones we face now are what build the foundations of our future. Foundations must be challenged and they must withstand. May we approach the new normal with a sense of presence, with our attention on this moment, rather than the next.
It’s my sincere hope that we will rebuild with a stronger focus on family and community. Social distancing has brought into sharp relief the ways in which my concepts of ‘work/life balance’ were inadequate. Family meals, walks, and playtime were a thing for weekends, instead of our every day. Time with friends was relegated to brief encounters here and there, all regularly scheduled weeks in advance. If I’ve learned anything thus far, it’s that the time for spontaneous drop-bys , long chats with a parent or old friend, or exchanging of books and baked goods can’t be saved for later; these must be the staples of my new normal. There must be time for creativity and growth. There must be time for extra snuggles and the occasional cookie break.
I’ve been so damn busy. The new normal must allow for rest–real rest, not just ‘when you’re broken down and sick so no one will blame you for resting’ rest. We are likely going to have to work hard in the coming season, each of us bearing the weight of loss, be it personal or economic. Let’s carry this load together, so that we can each stop to recharge before we have nothing left to give. Let’s co-parent our families with our communities, and influence one another through our strength of spirit.
Let’s not make the mistakes of the past. Our quick pace, hustle and side hustle, sleep-when-we’re-dead attitude has failed us. That sense of “normal” is what led us here. Adaptability, flexibility, perseverance, empathy; may these be the tenants of the new normal, and may we all come together as a community to make it even better than before.
What would you like to see the future hold? What steps can we take to make it our reality? Leave your suggestions in the comments below.
Light and love, y’all. ❤