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?

12 Comments Add yours

  1. Vicki Batman says:

    Hi, Kathryn: What an incredible post. Thank you for it. I go to the store with a mask. I see some friend with a mask on. Sometimes, I have to go to a store. My workouts are different and that’s good. I am ready for good weather to go on long walks. And sometimes, I get that hug. It’s a new normal.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Pat Amsden says:

    I suspect and hope, that for many of us, life will never be the same. And oh, how we’ll treasure meeting up with friends for coffee. I think being more mindful and thoughtful of what we buy and where we go is for the good. It may make achieving climate goals actually possible.

    But there are also many who have suffered both socially and financially. And often it’s been a double whammy because when people are hurting financially abuse tends to go up. So I hope we can keep the good and remember, that for some, this really has been a tough year and they could use some extra support.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Kathryn Jane says:

      So very true. Wishing support now, and ongoing for all of those put into more dire situations because of the isolation. Perhaps the “good” will be a spotlight on others who are at much greater risk than we are ❤

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Hey, Kathryn. My goodness this is a powerful post. I agree we (I) won’t go back to the way things were before. The flu has been less this year because we’ve all been wearing masks. When this started I sent my husband to the store. I was terrified of getting Covid. He gallantly went. As time went by, I started going again. And yes, I order for pick up some things from Walmart. My grocery store has arrows on the floor to keep people moving in the same direction so you don’t have to come face to face, though masked, with others. I hope they keep that up. Our recent weather experience reinforced the importance of not running low on essentials. I’ve had one shot and can’t wait for the other to really hug my kids and grands and friends. And eating lunch out with a friend. Being a shopper this has been hard on me. I love your idea of online shopping and then clicking the X. But doesn’t that put you on all kinds of lists for adds? LOL Still might be worth it. Thanks for this, Kathryn. I shared.

    Liked by 2 people

  4. I retired last year, just before the first lockdown in the UK. I was looking forward to it, but I didn’t have any preconceptions as to what shape retirement would take. The pandemic has ensured I have done a lot less than I think I would have done, but maybe I would’ve done nothing anyway. Perhaps I’m already living my normal. I don’t think so, but I’ll have to wait to find out!


  5. Reblogged this on Jacquie Biggar-USA Today Best-selling author and commented:

    What does normal mean for you? An insightful, inspirational post on our new lives from Kathryn Jane.


  6. Our lives HAVE changed, there’s no denying it. But, for many families, it’s also brought a new appreciation of our loved ones and what they mean to us.
    Masks and hand sanitizer have become our new best friends, along with supporting our communities by locally shopping, and helping neighbors in need.
    I’d like to think we’ll come away from this wiser, kinder, and more generous- all those deaths have to count for something ❤

    Liked by 2 people

  7. Kate Wyland says:

    It’s funny, but my reaction is different. Once we’ver reached herd immunity via vaccinations and infection, I don’t see why we can’t resume normal lives. Many things have changed, of course, some for the better, some not. More people will be working from home, a lot more stuff will be happening online.
    But having just put on a Zoom funeral for my husband (cancer) and having to keep distant from my daughter who came in from the UK and my teenage grandchildren, who have not been religious about social distancing, I want normal again. I’ve been vaccinated so I can be less worried about getting sick, but I’m looking forward to not having to mask and distance in the (hopefully) near future..

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Hey, Kate. I’m so sorry to hear about your husband. My goodness to have to experience that loss during these times. What an extra burden. My prayers are with you. God bless and comfort you. Thanks for stopping here and sharing.


  8. I think you are quite right, the world has changed and it will never go back to how it was before. The economic and psychological impact of all of this is going to mean a lot less travel abroad, people will vacation in their own countries and states even. I must admit, that the idea of getting on an aeroplane with all those germs circulating for hours is quite off-putting. I don’t think people will go back into offices in the same way either. I think people will hot desk, offices will be smaller and people will continue to work from home more. The impact of this on the retail and tourist industries has yet to be seen. New career opportunities are going to be required.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. markbierman says:

    There will always be scars, permanent changes, and lessons learned. Nothing of this magnitude ever fails to cause these things.


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