23 Apr Is This Normal? Life and Reflection in Quarantine
Wednesday evening at the Celano home these days looks a bit like this:
My youngest is on a Zoom call with his Club soccer team, discussing this past week’s workouts (at home) and the weekly club quiz;
My middle son is on another Zoom call with his youth group from church discussing this week’s Bible verse;
And my oldest is playing “Call of Duty” with three of his friends online, while they are Facetiming and watching another gamer streaming his game.
As my wife is preparing dinner in our makeshift kitchen (our kitchen was demolished just before the COVID-19 crisis due to a major water leak), I am trying to figure out how to grow my own vegetables, bid enough money on eBay to purchase toilet paper and how to pivot my business to survive into the future.
Is this normal?
When can we go back to “normal?” Or as I hear many people saying these days…”When can we find the ‘new’ normal?”
I am struggling with the word “normal.” I suppose the main cause of my angst is I am not entirely sure what “normal” is. Or what it’s supposed to be.
Merriam-Webster defines “normal” as “conforming to a type, standard, or regular pattern.” I don’t know about you, but for me, that sounds ridiculously boring. Being normal implies some type of consistency or predictability in behavior.
“Hey, you don’t seem like your normal self” you might catch yourself saying to someone who seems off or out of sorts.
The normal state of things can be a good thing. Maybe we are experiencing an incredibly stressful event. Maybe we are grieving the loss of a loved one, or maybe we are dealing with a crisis, the likes of which we have never seen or experienced before. There is a genuine pull or desire to get “back to normal” or to some area of comfort. The discomfort we experience, as a result of grief, loss, stress or some other external event that makes us feel out of control is not a place where many people want to be for very long.
What if we didn’t go back to “normal” or “new normal” or any other version of “normal?”
But rather we blazed a new path for ourselves, one that is creative, innovative and undergirded by a sense of purpose.
We evolved into something new.
I want to evolve.
I don’t want to go back to the “normal” prior to the pandemic and I don’t want to go right back into a new rut.
This could be an amazing opportunity for so many or us to reinvent ourselves, to dig deep into that well of creativity in each and every one of us.
According to James Clear in “Creativity: How to Unlock Your Hidden Creative Genius”, research suggests that creativity and non-creativity are learned behaviors and “nearly every person is born with some level of creative skill.” It is all a matter of how that creativity is either nurtured or suppressed.
How can you be creative? Is it art, writing, music, entertainment, technology, or tools/ideas that can make life easier or more enjoyable?
What do you want to create?
Resistant To Change
Once COVID-19 becomes a distant memory, and it will, it will be tempting for some to relax back into their lifestyle and habits they were used to, before the crisis.
There is an inherent resistance to the feelings associated with change that can sometimes hold us back.
The main reasons people resist change:
- Loss of control: I totally get this, being the “control freak” that I am.
- Uncertainty: It is scary not knowing what the future holds for us.
- More work: The path of least resistance is just so much easier. Why, on Earth, would I want to learn something new or take on new challenges? That takes work!
I catch myself getting stuck on this merry-go-round; where I want to be in control at all times, I want to be pretty confident in what the future is going to bring, and I do NOT want any more work that I absolutely have to do.
But what if I resist those temptations?
What if I jump off that merry-go-round and take on the new challenges?
What will my life look like?
What new experiences will I have?
What aspects of myself will I uncover that I never realized were there?
Well…I may just evolve.
I may learn there is so much more to see and learn out there.
I may meet people that will bring me and those closest to me unmeasurable joy.
I may find a sense of fulfillment in the service of others.
Will it be hard? Probably
Will it be scary? Most certainly
Will it be worth it? That remains to be seen…but I am game to give it a try.
What about you?
Leave us a comment below and let us know your thoughts about where you’re going and how you feel.