A New Normal

This is part of my home gym circuit – about 120 steps in total, so 83.33 circuits to make my FitBit goal of 10,000 steps per day. The tennis ball is an important safety feature, added after my husband wiped out several times on the metal bar sticking out at (his) hand height. He takes blood thinners, so we don’t want to add to the emergency room chaos in the current season.The last few weeks has been all about adjusting – adjusting our habits and behaviours, adjusting our expectations, adjusting our lifestyles, adjusting our patters of communication. Adjusting our ways of working, if we can, adjusting to a new rhythm of unemployment and forced leisure, if we can’t.

We all have ways of adjusting that suit our personality profiles. My eldest daughter and her nerdy family have barely had to adjust at all – it’s business as usual for the introverts. My second daughter’s family is also well-suited to working from home, were it not for two boisterous toddlers thrown into the mix. (Thank goodness for the trampoline in the garden.) The youngest and her partner have it hardest – locked down in a university city – allowed to go out to walk, but not to the shops because there’s nothing left to buy, comforting friends whose relatives are in more dangerous hotspots, trying to keep up with the assignments online, because this is the dream opportunity that they have sold everything to be part of. 

In the past I have facilitated GriefShare – a group therapy experience for those who have lost loved ones. It’s a really supportive course, helping people to externalise their individual journey with grief, helping them not to feel alone or ‘weird’ as they cycle through denial, anger, depression, despair and acceptance. Learning that there is no one way to deal with grief – it can be complicated, but also that there are some better ways than others, that can be learned from other people who have also walked the walk. And the most important thing of all is just not to get “stuck” or paralysed in the process – as long as you can keep moving, little by little, you will eventually be okay.

It feels like the whole world is currently engaged in the biggest Griefshare course imaginable. We are all at different stages – some are still stuck in denial “this can’t possibly be happening to me”, others are angry, others resigned and philosophical. Others are bargaining for the magic breakthrough that will turn everything back to normal.

But that’s the whole point of GriefShare – realising that you can’t turn the clock back, however much you wish you could. However, much you wish you’d said or done things differently in the past, that season is gone forever, but what lies ahead – for you to discover, is a new season that is becoming a  new normal. A number of people I respect have been speaking about a “divine re-set” that has been given to us in this time – an opportunity to stop and think ‘what matters to me, what kind of person do I want to rise out of the ashes of this current conflagration?” See in your minds eye that person – and sow to him or her in this moment – don’t wait for this season to pass, for you will never get as good a time as now to make the large-scale changes that might be necessary.

Last night we asserted our family value of connection in a game of Trivial Pursuit that spanned 4 families and 3 continents. It worked! (Thanks to Zoom!) It was fun, it was challenging (not everyone had cards and some had to trust others to throw the dice for them. ) It was competitive as ever, and some of us stayed up too late, and all of us ate too much – spurred by the envy of what treats other people had brought to the party. Will this become part of our new normal? I hope so. Because it’s stressful to live constantly in the exceptional and the extra-ordinary. We all need the comfort and security of a new normal. I hope you are finding time to reflect on your new normal. If this resonates with you, send me a comment below.

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