There’s no fast-track back to normal

NormalEven if we could click on the remote and restart the video that was once our life, I think it will be pixelated and jumpy at first. Even if we could crank up our economic engine again with the snap-of-a-finger, I think it will more likely need a few tugs on the pull cord, like our old lawnmower, before things hum without sputtering. Even if the windows on my world suddenly sprung open and I was free to fly, I think I would sit on the ledge a while and ponder a little longer, before taking flight.

Sitting around on our porch in the quiet evenings we liven up the conversation with “What if …” questions. A family favorite in years gone by has been “What would you do if you won the lottery?” The answers typically coalesce around putting most of it in the bank and sitting on it a while to digest the impact. Of course, the money doesn’t go to the back until after some fun splurge-y thing like a big expensive trip to the Maldives, or buying a new Tesla car.

A new COVID19 question has been added to our repertoire: “What’s the first thing you are going to do when social distancing is over”. The answer will vary depending on what our greatest pain point is at the moment. It can be anything from get a hair cut, to go to the gym, or the movies, or visit a friend, or have people over for dinner, or meet them at a restaurant. My guess is that we might treat ourselves to something that feels like a daring splurge-y move the first day, but then sit back and consider how we really want to spend our time in the post-COVID world.

Will we want more, or less interaction with people than before? Will we re-engage in all the groups we were involved with before — or maybe we didn’t miss one or two of them? Will we continue something new that we discovered during the lock down — mask sewing anyone? Did relationships shift during this time — and will they shift back, or stay at the same new COVID normal? Will some of the changes we made stick with us — wearing masks maybe? If we’ve witnessed healing of our planet, will we be more mindful of our impact on the earth?

Lots of questions. Not many answers yet. Just like we wondered what kind of parents we might be before we had kids. We had aspirations and hopes but we had to live into it to really know. And similar to parenting, clarity of intention helps but it sometimes gets messy and sometimes things are beyond your control.

Our world, and us in it, has been in a medically induced coma. It’s going to take time to wake up. There probably won’t be a fast-track back to normal — and we don’t even know what post-COVID normal will look like yet.