02 Apr

We Can’t Go Back to Normal

I’ve just received my 2nd Moderna shot. Vaccine availability has replaced weather as the primary topic of social conversation. People talk longingly about getting ‘back to normal.’

But, do we really want to go back?

We can’t. Everything that we have been through this last year has changed what we perceive as “normal” forever. Our neurons have fired together in new ways. We’ll never unknow all that we now know; all the heart-wrenching emotion we have felt; all that has gotten us through and fostered our resilience to be more than we thought we could ever be.

How does that shape whatever becomes ‘normal’ going forward?

For me, the pandemic forced me (and many of us) to stay home far longer than I ever have in my life. Over time I shifted from hating it to appreciating the time and space to notice little things I had never stopped long enough to be aware of before. I want the feeling of contentment that comes from being at peace in my ‘space’ to be part of my future.

On a bigger scale, I witnessed the social fabric of our country tearing apart and became very aware of my own point of privilege. The silver lining in so much at-home: precious time to read, discuss and learn about racism and anti-racism. Going forward with active awareness and advocacy to supplant the unconscious neglect that was buried in all the noise of my “normal” too-busy life.

The realness of people’s whole lives, so much richer than the carefully crafted image they put on at the office. Zooming from living room or kitchen, the cat walking across the keyboard, kids’ toys piled in the background. Building empathy and kindness as we faced the vulnerability and fragility of our collective experience over the last year. I want authenticity, understanding, curiosity, and acceptance to replace hiding behind a persona to fit someone else’s idea of ‘normal.’

We get this unique opportunity to re-shape our lives with what is important to us. The pandemic gave us a tragic physical and emotional break from the cookie cutter of ‘normal.’

Now, we get to choose. What to keep from ‘past normal.’ What we learned and want to honor from our pandemic experience. What will shape a future that encourages and uplifts us going forward.

This is a pivotal opportunity—let’s not waste it by going ‘back to normal.’

From Sonya Renee Taylor, author, poet, spoken word artist, speaker, humanitarian, and social justice activist

“We will not go back to normal.

Normal never was.

Our pre-corona existence was not normal. Other than we normalized greed, inequity, exhaustion, depletion, extraction, disconnection, confusion, rage, hoarding, hate and lack.

We should not long to return my friends. We are given the opportunity to stitch a new garment. One that fits all of humanity and nature.”

Photo by 丁亦然 on Unsplash

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