“I can’t wait until we get back to normal.”
“Returning to normal will be wonderful.”
“The sooner we can go back to the way things were, the better.”
These three sentences were spoken in conversations I was a part of this week. I understand the premise behind each statement, each desire, each wish. But, deep down, a part of me couldn’t agree. I didn’t say anything then, but now that some time has passed since those conversations, I ask myself, is returning to “normal” what we really want?
What is “normal” anyway?
Dictionary.com defines it as: conforming to the standard or the common type; usual; not abnormal; regular; natural; ordinary. Normal isn’t a bad thing, actually. I usually view normal as good. Normal is comfortable. Normal is known. And normal is often welcomed.
But, when I think back to how life was pre-pandemic (that seems so long ago, doesn’t it?), I’m reminded of my fast pace, my overloaded schedule, my hustle and bustle. I’m reminded of the things and people I took for granted. Not to mention the stress and strain I put on my body by attempting to do it all and be all for everyone.
The pandemic ended all of that. It forced me into new rhythms of life. It awaked me to fresh perspectives and prompted me to make positive changes in my life. The pandemic also helped me realize there was a better way to live… simpler, slower, a little more soulful. And in living that way, I found life more peaceful.
“Normal” back then is different than “normal” now.
Normal pre-pandemic was fast, and normal now it’s a bit slower. Then, normal was always feeling behind, but normal now is feeling “my pace is my pace.” And normal then was minding my own business, but normal now is noticing the needs of others. Also, normal back then was unconsciously taking important things and people in my life for granted. Normal now is appreciating each day, each person in my life, each hug I receive, each moment just a little bit more.
How has “normal” changed for you through all of this?
I wrote a blog post last April titled, “What Will You Do Differently After This Is Over?”, for two reasons. 1) To get us to think about how walking through a pandemic has changed our perspective and how that will affect us after it’s behind us; and 2) So someday I could go back and look at my answers. Today was that day. Reading that post, written just a few weeks into the pandemic, blessed me. It did what I hoped it would do. It’s helping me not rush in to returning to fast-paced normal.
If returning to normal is what we want, can we change what’s “normal”?
Yes, I want to attend weddings and parties and celebrations just as much as the next girl. I want to return to concerts and in-person worship and to Cardinals’ baseball games and Colts’ football games. I think we’re all ready for some normalcy found in what we like to do, right? But, can we change what’s normal? Can we alter it a bit?
Like returning to normal with appreciating the people God has placed in our lives. Returning to normal with a slower pace, stopping more often to notice the little things. Returning to normal by living with intention, focusing on being a blessing, making a difference, loving our neighbors as ourselves.
Let’s make “normal” a bit more special, amazing, beautiful, and fulfilling.
Because we can. As things begin to open up in our corners of the world, it’s up to us how we return to them. Will we go back to the way life was or will be live a little differently? Will we return to the same old ways or has this changed us enough to live every day with a fresh perspective? Friend, how will you and I choose to live the remainder of our days?
Let’s choose wisely.
God bless you, friend!
photo: brittywing on Pixabay
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