This is a plea for normalcy. Yes I know things aren’t normal, but we need normalcy. Yes I know our daily and weekly lives are irregular, but we need to fight for regularity. It feels as though each day, something’s new. New article here, new data there, new rumors about school scheduling here, new banter about COVID-19 spread over there. This is not a place for you to read up on COVID-19 or gather my thoughts or opinions about what needs to be done regarding this virus. This is a plea for everything else. I’m begging us to fight for the normalcy we’re still afforded.
The two lowest seasons of my life have come with major change. Two new career changes I intentionally chose. One uprooting our family into a smaller house in the same city, and one uprooting our family into a new city. These were good changes. They were welcomed and well thought out. They were not sudden and I look back and am proud and so happy those changes happened in my life. But I also look back and remember the jarring and lowly mental and physical places I was brought. Change is hard and often I poured EVERYTHING I had into my new change. Both times I quit running and all physical exercise for a season to put my nose to the grind. Both times I ran up an unsustainable daily routine that needed adjusting once the “initial burn” was over. I’m begging us not to make my past mistakes. I’m begging us not to be consumed with COVID-19, even when it’s very easy to be.
Remember, I look back and am fond of my change – intentional, good, welcomed, not sudden, and happy. How different have our changes come to our lives lately – not intentional, poor circumstances, and very very sudden. Many even feel a new “job” as I did although they didn’t ask for it. This is not a plea for normalcy to undo everything we’ve done to combat COVID-19. It’s not to get us back to 100% normalcy ASAP – I’m leaving that up to the experts. This is a plea to identify what we’re still able to call normal in our daily routines and not let it go. Fight for your regularity in an irregular time. This is what I wished I had done in the midst of my past life-changes. This is a plea, a small small cry from the North woods of Wisconsin out to the enormity of the largest consumer culture to date, to … not be overly-consumed or obsessed.
Here’s a place to start: start and end your day with incredibly normal things. I typically read, pray, run, snuggle the kids, make a mess for breakfast, and try to sing something (usually in the shower!) before anything else in my day. It’s been a while since my “check email, social media, and read the news while I poop every morning” days, but it has been one of the best adjustments in my life. Nothing from the outside world until mid-morning. We all wake up being drawn towards something … please let it not be your phone. I’ve taken all social media off my phone and use apps & settings to not even be able to check email or see the internet until 10am. It’s amazing. It’s great. You might do it differently, but I find myself hungering for reading and running when I wake up now and it’s my the best normalcy I still have even when the world goes nuts over politics, COVID-19, and whatever news cycle we’re on. The first piece of bad news that came my way yesterday was a cloudy morning so I wouldn’t see the sunrise on my run.
Facebook has become a place where I see awesome people being awesome with really cool support ideas and collaboration during this weird time. What other time have we “rallied the village” and seen teachers, homeschooling parents, stay-at-home parents, working parents, and others encourage and empower one another … ONLINE? Resource sharing and business updates are easily accessed. The internet (sometimes) rocks! At the same time, this same internet – this same Facebook is also a place where my blood pressure and anxiety rise. I usually try to approach it as I do email and the news … check once a day. In and out. I post and schedule postings mostly for business and am only engaged on a desktop computer. Mobile is just too easy to keep being distracted in every room in every hour in every task of my life. I’m done with social media on my personal mobile device. Done. That’s me … find what works for you, but be honest if it’s actually working. I’ve changed my news checking to twice a day lately, but will still argue that lingering and going down the worm-hole of everybody’s opinions (including what you’re reading now – my opinions) isn’t usually where I want to overly-consume or be consumed.
The news, the updates, the social media all have their place right now. I get it. We’re on high alert and need information as it changes daily. However your life has been changed, please don’t slip into a mindset that EVERYTHING has changed – no more exercise since my race is canceled, sleep is crippled by anxiety and news-watching, the people I am still able to be face-to-face with are still replaced by my virtual friends. I know that’s where I can drift to if I don’t fight for my normalcy. To fight COVID-19 well, means being well informed, but it also means a strong robust immune system. Normal means of exercise, diet, spiritual, and mental wellness does much better solving the problem than hunching over our feeds and being consumed with opinions of opinions of data. Don’t get me wrong, please oh please if there’s a tornado-bomb-shelter-immediately-duck-and-cover mandate, someone txt me. Until then, I’ll be checking in around noon-ish on the latest updates.
They didn’t ban us from going outside. There are no restrictions on reading …. books! Take stock. Take inventory. For some, much more has changed than others. For you, what doesn’t have to change? What can still be normal?