What does a “new normal” mean?
I remember after the hurricane, there came a point where I was tired, exhausted and just couldn’t go on.
I was “done.”
Speaking with my therapist the other day, she explained to me that many of her clients have reached the point of being “done” with the pandemic. And I was reminded of how I felt like that several months after the hurricane.
It had been MONTHS and months and months of disaster recovery… and I couldn’t do it anymore.
But you can’t actually be done. The crisis is still present. You can’t simply be done with it.
So what does it mean to be “done?” What does it mean to adjust to the “new normal.”
For me, it means things can’t go on as they are in my personal life.
With the kids home all day long and me keeping my less than 2-year old niece—and more of my favorite young-ins when parents were in tight spots—my house was a disaster.
I couldn’t keep up with the demand. I work full time. I can’t constantly be on top of the kids.
But I had to do something.
The biggest problem area of the home was the kids room. So I set a goal to get that straightened out. They already don’t have a ton of toys, but there needed to be less. So I cleaned their room and removed toys I hadn’t seen them play with in a month, I got out seven bags of trash and put tiny toys high up where they would need my permission to get them down.
I taught Judah how to clean the kids bathroom. He does a pretty good job. He also has many other responsibilities that needed to be applied to him anyway.
I went through my clothes and removed clothes I hadn’t worn in a month.
And there were a few other decluttering jobs I went through.
I felt better. Like I had control over the situation again.
I began making dinners that were sit down worthy. Waking up at 7:30am instead of whenever. Working at night is sometimes when I’m more productive, when the house is quiet and I can think.
I take breaks from the crisis. 24 hours where the crisis doesn’t exist. It’s just me, my books and my coffee. The world can carry on without me for a day.
And I have a few other ideas in the works, but those were the most important ones.
So, to me, adjusting to the new normal means controlling the things I can. Not because I think things will be like this forever, but because this is how things are NOW and I couldn’t go on without managing my expectations, setting new boundaries and adjusting my routine to my new daily life.
When the time comes, I’ll adjust again. I’ll move from surviving to thriving. I’ll slowly recognize that things are different and that I can loosen up a bit.
That day isn’t today.
Adjusting to the “new normal” doesn’t mean accepting this as your forever life. It just means accepting that this is how things are in the present. So maybe do a few things differently to make yourself feel more at home in this weird stage of life.
After the hurricane, I was sick every time I left the house. No trees. Blue tarps everywhere. My own home severely damaged. Old favorite spots decimated.
So I had to look for beauty elsewhere.
For me, that meant taking frequent day trips, or staring out into the bay. I took up more kayaking.
I know my town won’t always be like this, but it is right now. That’s the reality.
So what am I going to do with that?
“Normal” is flexible. It’s fluid.
What’s normal today won’t be normal tomorrow.
What’s normal in one country isn’t normal elsewhere.
You’re “done” because you keep doing things the way you did before there was a crisis and that’s not working for you anymore. It’s exhausting you.
So accept the new normal.
Do some things differently.
But don’t be consumed by it.
This is not the end of the story! It won’t always be like this.