As the Steven Morrissey quote above says, “there is no such thing in life as normal”. Ergo, it stands to reason that there is no such thing as a “new normal” either.
I know I said that I wouldn’t write about the coronavirus pandemic anymore and this post will not directly address it, but it is the proverbial elephant in the room since in the midst of this pandemic, everyone is throwing out the term “our new normal”. This post wouldn’t make sense if I didn’t address the impetus for the use of this term, now quite ubiquitous in our media.
“Normal” is a word I try not to use for reasons I wrote about before on my blog:
As mentioned in that post, “normal” is a pretty useless word for a variety of reasons. Chief among those reasons is that the word is typically used to describe the behavior patterns of the majority, which isn’t necessarily a good thing.
Additionally, the first definition of the word “normal” in the Merriam-Webster Dictionary is “conforming to a type, standard, or regular pattern”. Nothing in life is or ever has been standard or regular. Such is the case before, during, or even after the coronavirus pandemic.
The one constant in our universe is change.
While I completely understand what people mean when they mention the “new normal”, in my experience, the only norm is that there is always a “new normal”. Life dictates dynamic change because life is dynamic, not static.
When I was a recruiter for the United States Army, one of the drivers of prospecting for potential recruits is the general precept that a person’s life tends to experience at least one major change every ninety days. This is particularly true for younger people from age 18 to 30, but in general applies to almost anyone of any age.
The list of major changes that can happen in your life are endless, from environmental shifts (both of nature and of living situations/conditions) to the death of a loved one or a friend. Modern society has fooled people into thinking that life is an endless routine and any disruption to that routine is a unique anomaly.
Adjusting to these unique anomalies is what we mean when we call said adjustments “a new normal”. Some people respond to “new normals” better than others. The army and other life experiences taught me to meet challenges by adapting to and overcoming the challenges that life throws at me. That requires at a minimum that I think, and by thinking, I can control my fear.
While there is nothing wrong or extraordinary about feeling fear in the face of trying times, the consequences of uncontrolled fear is needless anger, needless hatred, and needless suffering (thanks, Yoda ;))
When life disrupts your routine, you create a new routine.
When life throws a challenge your way, you meet it head-on.
We were not put on this Earth to simply exist. It is not our destiny as a species or as individuals to simply go to a job, work, come home, eat, do some form of recreation, sleep, and start the cycle all over again the next day.
If this pandemic teaches us anything, it should teach us that life is a series of “new normals”. This is just one of them.
-The Rational Ram