Do We Really Want to Go Back to the Way Things Were Before?

I’ve been asking myself this question lately, in both a global and personal sense. In reality, we can never go back. Time marches on, the world keeps changing and so do we. But right now a lot of people are probably wishing we could go back to a non-pandemic reality. We want a return to what we consider “normal life”.

Personally, I’m not sure what normal life is anymore. I have not had “normal” since 2018 when my husband was diagnosed with cancer. Suddenly everything changed then, and again a year later when he died, and again a year after that when COVID started. Through these events I realized that there’s no such thing as going back to normal. There’s only the potential of creating a new reality.

There Will Always Be Problems to Solve

A lot of people are really freaked out right now about COVID-19, about vaccinations, about the economy, about global warming, and a host of other issues. There are a lot of opinions about every problem and many issues to consider. Recently I was reading both sides of concern about the US pulling out of Afghanistan. Although my heart goes out to the people there and their families all over the world, I do believe it’s time to move on. It’s time for the people of that country to figure out what they want and how to make it happen. That is an ongoing process that every country and society has to go through. Look at any country’s history and you will see this struggle.

There is no going back to an ideal time, ever. Personally and globally we’re always a work in progress. Normal is where you feel comfortable and happy at a moment in time. So we have to ask ourselves the question, “Can I create happiness and comfort in this new reality?” And, “How will I do that, and how can we work at that systemically?”

I See a Lot of Good Possibilities

I’m not Pollyianna and the pandemic has been very hard for me. I’m a person who needs to be on the go and involved with friends, family and community. Traveling is in my blood. I find wearing a mask stifeling, but I do it. I’d like to get vaccinated but I’m alergic to some of the ingredients. I have a compromised immune system. I’m on the other side of the world from half my family and friends. So yeah, I wish this wasn’t happening. But it is, and wishes wont make it go away.

Although being in lockdown is pushing all my “get me out of here” buttons, there are some things I appreciate about it. There’s less noise, less traffic, and less distractions. I take more time to consider whether I need or want to go out, and weigh the value of what I want to do or buy. I’m less tempted to buy things I don’t really need. I plan the optimum time and place to go out for exercise. I use my time more consciously, and I’m beginning to recognise mental patterns that have held me back in the past.

Being restricted because of COVID is an optimum time for personal growth, and it could be similarly valuable on a larger scale. A lot of people like the new work from home paradigm and home schooling is no longer a radical choice. Perhaps we’re being reminded to spend our time wisely, playing with our kids or enjoying our loved ones. Perhaps we’re considering our relationship to our environment, and our relationship with the global economy.

An Opportunity to Move Forward

Whenever difficult things have happened in my life I eventually realize it was an opportunity for learning or growth. That creates forward motion and new possibilities. So I’m working at letting go of my concepts of “normal”. I’m looking for what I can do differently that will give me the sense of happiness and comfort that I’ve felt in the past. I’m expecting myself to make the best of the worst, so I can feel that this time has been valuable.

I’m hoping that the rest of the world will do the same. And I’m praying that governments will begin to create a vision toward sustainable interdependence. International cooperation is the road that will bring benefit to all people, not just the wealthy and influential few. This pandemic can foster a global evolution of heart, if we let it.

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