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I Don’t Want This New Normal

Lately I’ve found myself struggling with the term everyone is throwing out, “new normal.”  As we just read in the recent SLS update on COVID-19, the crisis is expected to extend over the next several months, most likely impacting our operations and way of living through this year and potentially into 2021.  So yes… like it or not, we are facing what will be to some degree our “new normal” for the foreseeable future.

When we do get out to do a grocery run or take a walk around the neighborhood, you can actually feel the mounting levels of anxiety in those around us.  There is fear over getting sick, not knowing what the future holds, and giving up our way of life to protect the larger community.  At least for me, I feel really out of control.  And I began realizing this is strangely familiar feeling… similar to the way I felt immediately after unexpectedly losing my husband to cardiac arrest.  That experience was jolting, suddenly I found my life completely turned upside-down.  Going from being a part of a happy family of four to a single mom of two little boys.  Or from having a life-partner to now going to bed each night alone.  That too was a time that I suddenly had a new normal that I did not want.  I had the same feelings of loss of control.

My point is not to write something dark and depressing… Stick with me, there is hope!  My point is, is that in losing someone, we clearly recognize that we are in grief and will process through it in all its glorious stages (read that last part with copious amounts of sarcasm).  Knowing you are “grieving” normalizes the rollercoaster of emotions and brings understanding that denialbargaininganger and depression are all healthy emotions that need to be processed in order to move to acceptance of a new normal where you can now begin to thrive again.  Some, who are unwilling to process through certain stages of grief, can get stuck in their grief, therefore never really moving to acceptance and finding themselves unable to thrive in their new reality.

Friends, we are collectively grieving right now.  We are grieving the loss of life around the world, connection with those we love, cancellations of things that bring meaning to our life like going to church, having weddings, taking vacations, birthday parties, and spending time with others.  And I have found myself stuck and resisting acceptance.  The first step to getting unstuck is to acknowledge what is going on here and calling out our sadness and anxiety for what it is – grief.  Once we recognize our grief for what it is, we can move through the stages and work our way towards acceptance.  Acceptance of our new normal looks like no longer resisting what is, but finding new ways to thrive in our current circumstance.

Whether our new normal is another month or another year, my hope is that we all continue to thrive.  That we can continue living our lives with joy and peace, taking care of our bodies and minds, challenging ourselves to grow and finding ways to impact our communities in our own unique way.  The unifying part about us all grieving right now is that we are all going through it together.  Lean on each other (from 6 feet away of course…), talk about what you’re feeling and keeping moving forward.  The world needs you, now more than ever.

Love you guys!

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