back to normal

Ok, here it is. This “getting back to normal” saying is doing something to me. I know I might overthink that one. I assume, mostly it’s meant in regards to  being able to meet family and friends, be out and about, work, schooling, doing day to day things, etc without restrictions and masks. 

But, I can’t help it, that sentence triggers something in me. Mainly, I think, because I wonder if “Getting back to normal” should really be the goal?

I do get it, we all had sh** to deal with, are tired, exhausted, and just done by all that was / is happening with the pandemic. And “normal” is what we crave. 

But do we really want to go “back” to normal? If we need to define what we want to go back to, should we then not rather consider a “new normal”? Amongst all the sorrow, pain, heartache and fear, haven’t we as well learned, experienced, shared and seen good things these past two years that would be important to carry on? 

Sadly, some of that good what we saw in the beginning of the pandemic seems to vanish already. While it felt like togetherness, understanding, empathetic and supportive in the beginning, it seems to have shifted. One can feel, hear and read more aggression, hate, bad mouthing; more me-versus-you and judgmental comments. It feels more “hostile”, do you experience the same? 

And what is “normal” anyway?

As per definition normal means “the usual, typical, or expected state or condition.” (Oxford Languages). It’s root goes back to the latin word normalis. And it “…described something made with a carpenter’s square. Something built this way would be normed to have angles that were perfectly aligned and fit a general pattern. This meaning eventually gave us the broader sense of fitting a pattern, standard, or average.”

And yes, there are lots things that can be defined as normal. I you ask me, it would be more measurable things. But when it comes to our individual lives – I think not so much.

After all, how can I compare my “normal” daily life to yours? For example – I have three kids in the age of 7 til 14 years old, move countries in average every 3 – 4 years. It’s normal for me and my family to pick and pack our things up and move across the globe and restart over again, for more than 18 years now. 

All this, is very normal to us, but not to others. But others have their own “normal”. Whether you have children, are married, move around or not. And neither is better or worse. It’s just each of our individual “normal” life. 

And with the pandemic, to me the view on “normal” has changed all over. And somehow I don’t want the full “old normal” anymore. What I do want to get back to is to experience a sense of normalcy in my, and my family’s, life. But again, how that – the normalcy – will look for me, my family and anyone else out there will be different. I can only speak for myself.

I hope to find my new sense of normal

How? By somehow keeping a bit slower, gentler, softer pace of life. It was crazy busy and hectic at times before the pandemic. And even though the days were certainly too quiet and slow, I want to keep some of that with me / us. It was kind of nice to be forced to pause. It created more time to reflect, go more inward. No, it wasn’t always pleasant, it scared the sh** out of me at times, but when I allowed myself to really go down that path, it was good. 

I would love to see it as normal, that we are all more understanding, supportive, caring and kind and less judgmental and harsh towards one another. Rather than to undermine a different opinion right away, seek a dialogue. It was there, we had it. I experienced it. Was it easier when we were all connected by the “unknown” when the pandemic started? Somehow it felt that we were more “apart but still more together” back then, even when we had different opinions experiences, or approaches.

I hope too, that people will stop judging one another for being less “open” about all the new “openness” – or as some name it ‘freedom’ again. We all head out there with different approaches. Some are super excited and relieved. Others more reserved, cautious, concerned, scared. We’re all allowed to feel differently about the openings again. 

Let’s see it “normal” to be gentler and kinder, like we all were when we were all in the midst of it.

So, yes I am working towards a sense of normalcy, without the full desire to return “back to normal”. For myself, I definitely would like to return back to some normalcy where I feel less stressful, fearful, worried and concerned about almost everything in the tenfold. Where I experience a more carefree mind and living again. 

Apart from behaviors mentioned above, some kind of “normal” day to day life right now for me would be to:
  keep wearing a mask (at least indoors for longer).
  keep social distancing (but to hug family and dear friends without having to worry)
– enforce hand washing.

Overall to remain vigilant but 

  • to live less on ‘constant’ alert like I have been since March 2020
  • be able to make plans to travel or receive visitors to meet family and friends again.  
  • To hug again without fear. 

But then again, months under the full pandemic,  became kind of normal too after a while. Instead of complaining about it, it became the “new” normal – the masks, the staying home, homeschooling, zoom, food delivery, the disinfecting of shopping and everything that has been touched  … the fear, worries and troubled sleepless nights.

Rather than sighing and wishing the “old normal” back, perhaps we need to see this as a real wake up call and acknowledge that “normal” is in a constant shift rather than a fixed state? And a new normal would be to remain open to change, adjustments etc? 

But who am I to define that? I just wanted to share my thoughts on this “back to normal” because I do believe it’s a good discussion to have. 

You now know a bit about my thoughts on all this “normal”. Or at least where I stand right now. Because, as said, “normal” to me seems to be a constant change. But how about you?

What does “back to normal” mean for you these days?

And just quickly, before finishing up – just because the pandemic might not be as bad in your country anymore and you live more freely again, it doesn’t mean it’s over! Stay alert and informed and show compassion and understanding to those who’re still – or again – in the midst of it all. We’re all still on our way to somehow ease back into “back to normal”, “new normal”, “freedom”, “normalcy” – or simply put – our way of day-to-day living. And no matter where you live, we aren’t “over” the pandemic yet.

Take care and I hope you find your ease in all this – the new, old, back to, unknown, ever changing – normal. 

AK  

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