There is a commercial that I’ve seen several times lately that says, “we are living in a new normal.” It is beginning to bug me. Is this a new normal? I will tell you that I am resistant to living like this and saying it is forever. It is hard enough to live with these life adjustments and reminding myself that it is temporary. In my experience as a therapist, I am well aware that adjustment happens. It happens for good things, like getting married or promoted. It happens for not so good things like losing a job or losing a loved one. And no matter the reason, adjustment can be hard.
For whatever reason, I have noticed that adjustment happens in shifts. A timeline that I find helpful and that I have offered to my clients is to make notes on your calendar reminding you of how long it has been. I go into my calendar and write “6 weeks since….” and then follow up with a keyword or phrase. I then mark when it has been 12 weeks, then three months, then six months, then nine months, and finally a year. At that year mark, I write “one year since….” and include the question to myself, “do you need to add more dates on the calendar?” I sometimes journal when I get these notifications on my calendar, but it isn’t necessary. I simply evaluate myself and how I am doing. During adjustment times, it can be hard to keep track of the adjusting that has happened. I can almost always look back on the last chunk of time and see ways I have adjusted, even progressed.
Here’s where my resistance comes in with the current global pandemic. This is not permanent. This is not a new normal. Maybe it is a temporary new normal, but I am also looking forward to things opening back up and being able to get out without the many limitations that are in place. It seems like we cannot predict when this is going to happen. It looks like there are varied opinions from different experts. Because of this, I completely understand the value of accepting that this is how it is for now. I just don’t like calling it the new normal. Maybe I am splitting hairs, but I think language is important for the way our brains interpret the world. Maybe we can call it a “new temporary reality” or something. Give me some ideas, friends!
For my family and me, the changes started somewhere between March 11th and March 16th. I marked April 27th on my calendar for six weeks. I’ll evaluate my stance then. Until then, I hold out hope that things are temporary and am trying to make the best of this situation. I just don’t want to call it my new normal.
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