The New Normal


The New Normal

The origins of the term ‘new normal’ for us, sprung from a conversation I had Sunday evening with my kids, after 2 weeks of following our Easter holiday routine. The air of it being a post-holiday school night hung heavily over our heads. It felt like the usual Sunday before school, shower time, earlier bedtime, evening prep – winding down. My youngest asked me what the plan was for the next day, “it will be Monday as normal” I said, he replied, “you mean the new normal Mommy”. The new normal was exactly what I meant and was very quickly accepted and understood.

So, as I look forward in hesitation to the week ahead, the sixth week of staying home, being teacher, working remotely and living in each other’s pockets, I think about what the new normal has become. And, how quickly, it has become normal to us, and how well we have adapted – both as a family and as a business.

PE starts at 9 for us, Joe Wicks bounces onto our TV screens (alongside hundreds of thousands of other homes) sickeningly energetic and flexing his muscles beckoning us to follow his small yet deeply painful movements and do so with smiles on our faces. We adhere, I force a smile and become Mommy motivator whilst the boys grunt their distaste at my seemingly joy in them partaking. Next, we have breakfast followed by the first 2 hours of learning. Lunch, a further hour learning, 5 pm govt briefing (here we go again) then the daily walk, free time, and finally bedtime. Rinse and Repeat.

In-between all of this I work, write, speak to colleagues and generally fixate on the who’s and whys, the news my constant companion purring in the background.

There is so much news today, so many sources available to us. Pinging on our phones, popping up on emails, breaking on our TV channels and printed in our papers. This overwhelming stream of noise and repetitive theory, citing so many ‘facts’ alongside so many theories that our brains are scrambled trying to process what the future holds. Lockdown, when will it end? What’s the exit strategy? What are our options, give us a date, we need to plan, prepare! When, Who, Why and Where. It’s overwhelming.

The new normal is not knowing all the answers, it’s not being able to plan for next week, or next month clearly. It is taking each day as it comes and dealing the cards we have been dealt. It’s living in the moment and not being too fixated on what’s next. It’s a deeply uncomfortable place to exist for many. The Buddhist mantra of living in the now is and will always be the path of the enlightened, an ideal, aspirational – yet the reality of this is incredibly hard. By nature, we are programmed to consider, to plan, to strategize and to understand our next move. The new normal is so much more than a new routine, it’s a brand-new mindset, a rewiring of the personality, a definitive and clearly altered lifestyle. The new normal is far from normal, it’s an abnormal version of our lives which we have adapted to help us overcome the challenges we face.

So, let’s embrace the new normal for what it is, an interim vehicle to enable us to finally get back to the old normal. It’s the best we can do, and the best is enough.

Rachael Nixon