Quarantine lifting in 4 days! End of the stay-at-home order in sight. See the light at the end of the tunnel. RUN RUN RUN to the light! Get thee back to normal!
Or should we walk?
Even though we are only going to Phase One of I don't know how many phases, it sure does feel like we're being freed of any chain that has ever been a chain that we have ever felt in our whole lives. And our natural inclination will be to resume all operations as usual (if you hadn't already started introducing that weeks ago), because we've missed and needed it so much. Or so we thought.
Prepare to rebuild your tolerance, for everything. We've been living the simplest, minimalist life for 2 months. We've encountered no traffic, empty stores, no waiting for anything; other than the grocery/dinner/Amazon delivery. Previous little inconveniences have the potential to be incredible immediate frustrations and obstacles to resuming normalcy. And we've barely had to interact with many people.
People? What people?! In person, we've been engaged with 10 people max (at least that was the rule). For anyone on the outside of our bubble, we could wait to text back, or we hung up, logged off, not Zoomed. Any "other" people became choices, not automatics.
And our calendars? All those activities suddenly had a natural boundary, whether we wanted it or not. No more obligations or guilt. We all had a blanket pass to "no".
It will be important to pace ourselves as we create our next new normal (cuz we're not going back). The pacing will help us enjoy the re-creation, as opposed to the jarring jump into immediate change again.
Here are some suggestions to consider as you pace yourself:
Put some thought into it. Make the steps you take from here intentional, and not automatic. Now is a good time for some fresh starts.
Write down the things you actually enjoyed while shut down. I bet you can find some good there. What do you want to keep up, and take with you?
Identify the things that you realized you really don't want or need in that next new normal. Do you really have to include it all again?
Where did the automatic boundaries work for you? Look at all the things you did because you had to due to quarantine. Now realize, you can potentially have those same boundaries, limits, and choices. We just need to handle the feelings of those choices on our own.
Be ready to grant other people some grace and patience. Everyone you encounter is trying to do their regular old tasks, but having to learn a new way to do them. Be kind to that restaurant host, as they try to enforce the 25% capacity rule, and it means you have to wait a little longer. Remember, they are just glad to have their job again.
Continue granting yourself some grace, some permission to not get the next steps perfect. Just like a couple months ago, we are again going into an unknown. So cut yourself some slack.
Think of it this way... if you had been absent from the gym for a long time, your trainer would likely have you start with lighter weights on your first day back. Being out of the habit, if you went right back to lifting the heavy weights of where you left off, you could potentially hurt yourself.
Same here. Jumping back into the fray without building up your resilience, tolerance, and patience, again, could set you up for some unnecessary frustrations.
And I know, we all just really want to enjoy this newly opened path to the next new normal. See you on the roads. I'll try not to honk.
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