I usually blow off comments about “normal” by quoting something I heard long ago…
“Normal is just a setting on the dryer.” ~unknown
But as much as I love that line, I’m putting it aside today while sharing some of my thoughts about life getting back to normal.
I believe the time has come to acknowledge that life will never go back to what many call, “normal,” just like we will not go back to rotary phones, or pac-man consuls in bars.
It is gone.
It is the past.
Many will never again take their health for granted. And who will be able to sneeze in public without feeling self conscious? Personally I can’t watch videos of people blowing out the candles on a birthday cake–without a little shudder while I think about the germs being spread.
Sure, there are those who believe we will go blithely on as we did before, but not me. Not those I know and love.
Because here’s the thing–as I see it.
Life will get better, get easier, and some of it will be in ways that feel like getting our normal back. But WE are what is changed.
We have been broken down into a sum of our parts. We have learned to analyze every move we make. We have been taught to never again take ANYTHING for granted.
Thirteen months ago, if I’d noticed we were almost out of orange juice, I would have driven 20 minutes to the big store with the best price, strolled around for at least twenty minutes looking at anything from frying pans to winter coats. I might even try on a pair of boots, or grab a snack for later.
By the time I left the store I would have touched dozens of items WITHOUT a second thought, I would have also touched my face, and likely used a tissue on my nose made drippy by all the chemicals in the store. I would be headed for my car with at least two bags filled with goods–and hopefully the orange juice I went for.
But now? In what I’m training myself to think of as our fresh new world?
I no longer shop around for the best price, nor do I spend a second longer than necessary inside a store.
Instead I shop local and support my neighbors. I only shop when absolutely necessary, and make sure to never get low on essentials.
I write my shopping list in order so I don’t ever have to double back for something I’ve missed.
I wear a mask, and I’m conscious of each and ever thing I touch–including/especially my face.
For retail therapy–because well, shopping is fun and distracting–I treat myself to online shopping. I load up my virtual basket with all kinds of indulgences, then click on that tiny red x instead of clicking on check out. For those in my generation, this is just like window shopping. All fun, no cost.
And when I really need to get out of this small space I live in? I don’t head for my car and drive to a beach or a park, I simply put on my jacket and step outside. I circle my neighborhood, walk down lanes, actually look at the buildings I’m passing, at the hearts in the windows, the cats sunning themselves, the buds forming on trees, and the messages on sidewalks.
I look. And I see.
So back to the question of normal.
This life we’re leading now is our new and current normal. The old will never be again. We know more now, and we are better for the knowledge.
Just like my parents who lived through the great depression and therefore never took food for granted, I will never again take food, (or toilet paper), or family and friends for granted.
Never again will I be too busy to visit with a friend, or too tired to meet a friend for a quick hello.
I have learned what a special gift it is to sit down at a table filled with family and friends.
I have learned that even though I’m a socially awkward introvert…
I too need human connection and once I’ve had my vaccination I will never again duck a hug–or known hugger–but instead will step in and hold on tight.
My new normal is all about where and what I am right now. Today. It is about taking care of myself by allowing for mistakes, for time spent doing what I love and doing nothing at all.
I no longer beat myself up for not accomplishing a task on time, or ever. Those shelves I bought for displaying my paintings might just sit in the corner for another month or ten before I get them up on the wall.
My new normal is about honoring who I am, and doing what I need to do to get through the now.
How about you? Are you adjusting, finding your new normal and settling in?