This pandemic has certainly taken a sledgehammer to our world’s “normal,” has it not? All of our normal routines and expectations have shattered in one way or another to leave us in a foreign landscape.
At some point in the coming weeks and months, things will return to “normal,” although it’s likely that this experience will cause enough changes in our world that the new normal we return to will not be exactly like the old normal we lost.
One of the hidden benefits* any time of brokenness offers us is the opportunity to see the details of our lives a bit more clearly and to make decisions about what we keep as we rebuild and what we want to change. This pandemic is no different.
Rather than simply aiming to return to our old normal (or as close as we can get to that) as soon as possible, we have the opportunity to take this time of disruption as a chance to really consider that old normal to decide what pieces of it we wish to return to and which pieces we may want to redesign.
This might be as small as living life with greater appreciation for things we had fallen into the habit of taking for granted. (I know I’ve developed a whole new appreciation of toilet paper and am not likely to take a ready supply of that for granted for a long time!)
Or this time might be the seed of a more radical change. Maybe this time will have you thinking about new career options, downsizing to better manage your finances, moving to be closer to family, seeking the opportunity for more work-from-home options, or some other similar big shift in your priorities or goals going forward.
Here are some things to consider over the coming weeks of continued disruption to decide what kind of new normal you’d like to create.
What are you truly missing from your old normal?
For example, I know many people are missing the ability to have more social interaction with friends and family. What other things are you doing without right now that you really miss and can’t wait to get back to? These are things to keep in your new normal or even increase the time and attention given to them.
How could you create a new normal that would do a better job of keeping that need met?
To follow on with the example above, this might involve changing the way you stay in touch with friends to be more actively connected, changing or expanding your circle of friends to build deeper connections that better stretch through difficult times, or even moving to be closer to loved ones when this is over.
What have you lost from your old normal that you don’t miss at all (or are maybe even relieved to have a break from)?
Many of us have activities or commitments that have become burdensome obligations somewhere along the line without us even realizing it. Times like this can highlight those and may point to things that we would benefit from removing from our new normal.
How could you create a new normal that would contain less of these things that you don’t miss?
This might mean substituting more of the activities you are missing for some of those you don’t, or it might mean doing something more radical like finding a new job if this space has helped you see that your current one has become more toxic than you had realized.
What have you enjoyed during this time away from normal that wasn’t previously part of your normal life?
Perhaps you’re discovering that you like spending more time at home or you’re enjoying getting outside more often now that you have the chance to. Maybe you’ve been decluttering and are enjoying the feeling of having less stuff. Or maybe you’ve discovered that you enjoy the effect that having a break from shopping as often is having on your finances.
How could you create a new normal that includes more of what you’ve discovered that you enjoy?
This could be anything from spending more time on hobbies to spending less time mindlessly shopping to deciding to live a more minimalist lifestyle.
When you put all of these pieces together, what kind of new normal comes into view for you? What will you do create that as this disruption eases and things go back to normal?
I’ll be the first to admit that we have limitations around the options available to us, but we often have more choices than we allow ourselves to see.
This time of disruption has been difficult for many of us and will continue to be so for awhile, but since we must live through it, we might as well use this time to create a better tomorrow for ourselves.
What do you want your new normal to look like from what you’ve learned about yourself and your life during this disruption? I challenge you to start finding a way to create that new life for yourself today!
*As I frequently point out, finding a positive coming out of a time of brokenness does not in any way mean we need to be glad or grateful that we experienced that particular brokenness, nor does it mean that whatever brokenness happened in order to bring about that benefit. Brokenness in life happens. We don’t have a choice about that. Our only choice is what we do with it when it occurs, and creating positives out of the broken pieces is what living a kintsugi life is all about!
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