I recently read a great article in The Atlantic by Arthur C. Brooks titled “A Once-in-a-Lifetime Chance to Start Over”. He is, of course, talking about re-entering life post pandemic. So many of us think of our lives pre-pandemic in a sentimental way. We think about what me have missed out on – being able to shop and travel and hug and converse openly. We think about what we miss most about being able to move freely in places that are familiar to us.
These are all valid things to miss.
I know we have all lost a lot. Some of us much more than others. And we have also gained a lot.
It is what we have gained that I feel is most important to focus on, especially as we move forward.
Brooks asks the question: “What do I want ‘normal’ to look like?”. He poses it in conjunction with thinking about returning to normal after this turbulent time.
It is a very important question to ask. After the world shut down and everything we knew about “normal” was turned on its butt, we didn’t give that question much thought. But now we have an opportunity to look normal square in the face and see if there is anything we like about it. Now, we can be brutally honest and really weigh out what we actually liked about being in a pandemic. And perhaps more importantly, think about what we might now realize we didn’t like before it.
It sounds kind of funny think about what you like about being in a pandemic. After all, there is so much to hate. But I bet if you think hard enough you will find silver linings. You will see things that actually work for you.
Perhaps, upon re-entry, solitude is something you will now want to incorporate in your day-to-day.
Maybe being taken out of the rat race of work has led you to want to find ways to slow down that race. Or perhaps just be in it at all.
Your new normal might be spending time with the people you love and who fulfill you, and less (much less) time with those who don’t.
Maybe the pandemic opened up for you a whole new way of looking at who you are, and what you actually love to do.
Sure, working telecommunications has been…fun. But baking, or wood working, or becoming an author is really what fulfills you.
Ask yourself that question, “What do I want normal to look like?” What belongs in my life? This kind of introspection will allow you make meaningful changes. In fact, this kind of assessment I suggest is necessary to living purposefully. It is necessary to fully addressing what it is you like in your life, for your life, and about your life.
It is imperative to address if you want to thoroughly create a life you love.
You do have the choice.
We were all forced to find ways to connect more authentically. And we were all forced to slow down. But now there is more freedom in our choices. I hope we can use the power we have to create, to not just accept things willy-nilly, or just go along with things as we did before – especially if they were things we did.not.enjoy.
I hope we all take a good, hard look at what was normal, is now normal, and decide what informs our life positively so we can create a vision moving forward that incorporates it.
Truth is, we have always had the power to discern what feels right and good.
We have always had the means to assess and reassess, and change based on what we want our ‘normal’ to look like. But often we subconsciously, or consciously, excused those chances because life was “busy” or “complicated” – which are just words that mean we are scared and unsure. Now, we have a different kind of opportunity to change because with the pandemic we were forced to face “scared” and “unsure”.
And hopefully when we did we learned something from it.
What was learned is different for everyone. And it is best seen through that deep thought I was talking about above. But we are all in the same position now – poised to use the reset button that is being presented to start over. For real.
We have the chance to really make deliberate, conscious, willful decisions on what should stay in our life, and what should go. And it is important to take the opportunity, once and for all because you deserve it.
You deserve to live a life that you love – doing the things that make you happy, and in ways that truly fulfill you. You deserve to spend time with your self, as much as you need in order to stay grounded, and with people who lift you up, and accept you as you are.
Take the chance! Reinvent yourself. Be bold in your choices and honest with yourself about who you are and what you want.
The pandemic is slowly moving away, and life will get back to normal. What that normal is, is entirely up to you.