Staying the Course to the New Normal

Do not go where the path may lead, go instead where there is no path and leave a trail — Ralph Waldo Emmerson

As I thought about what to discuss this week, I initially struggled. In my mind, it did not seem that much had changed.

Yes, governments here and there around the globe are starting to ease restrictions on the movement of people, but the pandemic is not over, nor are we returning to how things used to be.

So exactly where are we? And then I realised … despite what everyone has been saying, we haven’t reached “the new normal” yet, we are actually in the midst of a journey to some future state.

And if that’s the case, the key thing that everyone needs to realise is that the only way to actually get to this desired “future state” is to keep putting one foot in front of the next; meaning that, as restrictions are lifted it is more important than ever that we continue to employ all of the new safety habits that have been introduced — but of our own free will, not because a government forced us to.

As always, I need to make it clear that I am not a medical expert and when it comes to protecting your health during the pandemic you must always follow the advice of medical professionals. It is fair to say, however, that I can offer a few comments on human nature and self-discipline.

Having said this, when it comes to major life changes (be they work-related or personal) it has been scientifically proven that people can be divided into three distinct groups:

• Early Adaptors — those who lead the way and are always keen to try new things, but who can become frustrated when others don’t immediately join them.

• Fence Sitters — those who sit back and see what’s going to happen before deciding whether or not to commit to a change.

• Resistors — those who will do anything they can to avoid making changes and literally seek to influence others to do the same.

So how does this apply to our current situation? Let’s face it, it would be normal to be feeling a bit fed up with social-distancing. This is particularly so if you are spending days on end by yourself, especially now that the weather is starting to get better and you see other people reverting back to their “old” habits. But don’t give in.

Yes, it would be wonderful to hug the grandkids or play with the neighbours’ dog, but is it safe for you to do that?

Yes, your roots are showing but should your friend be coming over to do your hair for you?

Yes, it would be great to spend a day on the water in your mate’s shiny new boat but how many other people are going to be there and how will you maintain social-distancing?

Yes, it would be great to hold a family barbecue but how will you cook and distribute the food safely?

It might seem daunting, but the only way to really move forward is to get up each day and focus your energy on coming up with new ways to embrace and make the most of the life you now have, and then share your ideas with those around you.

Yes there will be good days and challenges, but if we all help each other we can get through this together.

By Robin Trimingham

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