The New Normal

The conversation right now is is all about getting back to normal.

And I get it. People need to go back to work. Small businesses need their customers back. The economy has to start rolling again soon.

For me personally, I’m just inconvenienced and I feel terrible for people who are suffering financially.

There are things I can’t wait to do.

For example, grocery shopping is one of my favorite activities so I’m excited to someday walk into a store without strategizing like a general preparing for battle.

I want to browse a bookstore and see a movie. I want to visit places that I’ve never been.

But I’m trying to make the best of this time at home, cooking and doing chores. I’ve been digging in long neglected flower beds and look forward to transplanting and using plants from around the yard to make things nicer. Small changes around the house sometimes involve simply making something a little more convenient and I’ve been decluttering here and there.

The tv is off most of the time although I have gotten hooked on reruns of The Closer. Reading is the thing I do most – before work, after work and sometimes at lunch.

I’ve said this before and will say it again, life is very quiet. And while my leash is short, I’m still planning some hikes and drives to places most people don’t think to go. Social distancing is easier in rural areas.

When your world changes, you have to change with it.

I watch with interest as Facebook friends exchange Netflix recommendations and complain about spouses, kids, boredom and having to cook. They’re basically killing time while they wait to go back to normal life.

I’m not sure I want to go back to normal – at least, not everything. Some activities, some people, some obligations will get weeded out of my life just like the Honeysuckle that I cut away from roses this week.

It just seems like now is the time to find new hobbies, to eat better, breathe deeper and to build habits for greater happiness and productivity in the future.

The folks in this next picture were in a nice art gallery, a place called the Parthenon, in Nashville last spring. They were surrounded by interesting things but they chose to sit on a bench and look at their phones while others in their party explored.

They’re missing out on everything.

Is this how we want to spend our lives? Sitting on a bench or a couch, staring at a tv or phone? Or complaining because someone dragged us to a museum or some other place that we don’t want to be so we’re just going to ignore it till it’s over?

Here’s my unsolicited advice.

Turn off the tv and go for a walk or do a puzzle. Go for drives. Order some seeds and plant a small garden. You will be amazed at how therapeutic it is to dig in spring soil.

This is a great time to reflect on what you like about your life and what isn’t working. If you’re unemployed or working from home, you may find time to explore new things, expand your horizons, or map a fresh journey for the road ahead.

The photo at the top of the page is from my yard. This battered old apple tree bloomed overnight after a long night of thunderstorms this week. Once the storms moved through, the sun came out and these pretty blossoms filled the branches.

Let’s be like this tree. Weather the storm and when the time is right, we will blossom again.