I’m always wary about the word ‘normal’. I sometimes wish to be acquainted with it, and sometimes think it sounds incredibly boring.

The highs and lows of reality give us a break from normality which can sometimes spell monotony without the loud and quiet, speed and stillness.

That adrenaline rush of spontaneous decisions, or the unbelievable delight in a surprise. Every human unique, every experience of life from a slightly different angle. I marvel at how the world can be made of 7.6 billion people, and no two are exactly the same; not even identical twins. Normal would be robotic. We, as people, crave relationships over robotics, for many good reasons. Anyway… I digress…

My ponderings over the word normal is probably why this quote circulating recently has caught my attention:

‘In the rush to return to normal, use this time to consider which parts of normal are worth rushing back to…’

Woah. Yes, go back. Read it twice. Take a little time to let that sink in, and when you’ve read as much of this as you’ll read, go back and read it once more, then turn the screen off your device and ponder it for a moment.

Like it or not, it seems we all do have a normal. We are faced with how much is normal, when we notice how much doesn’t feel normal in the midst of a scenario such as lockdown. Studies, or work, whatever that looks like for you – it brings some sense of normal. Our daily monotony has been thoroughly challenged.

When our normal is changed, we are challenged to ponder what we could create if we could design our own new normal.

This is the time to challenge yourself. Are you in a job you don’t like – is it time to change company, or alter your direction? Have you always wanted to work for yourself? Are there routines you’ve had for a while that could be different? Coming out of lockdown may be a bit like New Year’s Eve – we can set new resolutions, give ourselves new promises of things we aim to do.

We mustn’t forget our societal ‘normal’ included people struggling to make ends meet financially and a rise in loneliness in the old and young. What has been normal hasn’t always been good.

Greta Thunberg’s tweet on 27th March takes it a step further talking about climate change “There is a lot of talk about returning to ‘normal’ after the COVID-19 outbreak. But normal was a crisis.” Sir David Attenborough seems to agree, openly sharing his concern that climate change is our greatest threat in thousands of years.

Perhaps during lockdown, you’re thinking about what difference you can make personally or professionally to be more eco-friendly.
Perhaps you are reconsidering your career choice.
Perhaps you’re working on your CV or interview skills.
Perhaps you’re working on your budgets, or reaching out so others feel less lonely.
Perhaps there’s been something niggling away at you that springs to mind now, that you know has to stop being part of your normal… or that needs to start.

So with an entirely blank canvas you can reflect on what ‘normal’ was like pre-lockdown for you. Were there things that had become normal that you don’t want to allow or accept any more? Were there changes you wanted to make, but just never quite managed? You have this extra opportunity for a new start. For creating a new normal. What will you do with yours?

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