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Redefining Normal

People keep asking about and referring to the period that comes after this whole pandemic experience. Many people are referring to it as “getting back to normal”, “business as usual”, or the “new normal”, all of which seem rather out of touch and out of reach.

Over the last two months, I’ve been challenging people on their idea of “normal” and trying not to visibly grimace at the thought of it. Truth be told, I’ve been challenging people’s idea of normal my whole damn life, but I digress. Realistically, nothing about the introduction of covid-19 has felt normal. From being told to stay at home, work remotely, home-school our kids, ordering food to be shipped, sanitizing our groceries, wearing masks in public, and being on Zoom calls for hours on end.

Then I had an enlightening realization...

Nothing we were doing before was normal, because nothing has meaning but the meaning we give it. There was nothing normal about driving 45 minutes one-way to do a job we can do from home, or 3 back-to-back meetings about different aspects of the same work when we could map out ideas on a shared platform. There was nothing normal about crowding into dirty movie theaters at $15 per person for the sake of entertainment. And face it, it was always weird when you caught someone at a public event handling shared food with bare hands only to be told sheepishly “my hands are clean”. Yeah right!

Doing is work; being is effortless.

Life after the pandemic is not going to look the same, nor should it. We are poised again to create our ideal future because we now have new information. Whenever you have new information, you are apt to make a new choice. What we are discovering is that when normal is out of reach, we more easily begin to do what comes naturally. Sure, it is uncomfortable and uncertain at first, it might even be unflattering, and then it feels second-nature because suddenly you stopped doing the things that felt like obligations and started being the person you would otherwise naturally be.

The world didn’t stop on its axis in the wake of not doing what we normally do. You define what is normal to you, but what is natural for you is innate, it just happens without much doing. It is effortless.

So, the next time you’re staring into the abyss that is your webcam or lying in bed recounting everything that didn’t get done today, ask yourself, “who was I busy being?” The answers may inspire you to be more of the same or to make a change. The choice is always yours. Who will you effortlessly be tomorrow?


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