The New Normal

I don't know about you, but I'm tired of hearing this is the “new normal”. I accept that we are all staying at home, and I'm adjusting like everyone else but new normal…..NO. I can accept only seeing my family on an iPad screen for the last couple months instead of seeing them in person, or even working remotely, which can be great but also difficult for some. If new normal means that this is all there is and we must be happy with the new normal, then HELL NO! Normal is not a word anyone I know would use to describe me. Crazy, sarcastic, quirky or some deviation thereof, but normal, nope! I do know this is definitely not normal!

I will only accept the new normal if it means that people are going out of their way to do for others and help their neighbors, family, friends or even perfect strangers in need. If it means that people are thanking the front-line workers for all they do and the danger they put themselves in for us on a daily basis. If it means people are going old school and back to using their manners saying please, thank you and excuse me again. Patience and manners go a long way! (Of course no one would ever accuse me of being patient either!). I’ll even accept that eventually this economy and my 401K will bounce back. What I will not accept is if we go back to the world we left behind before this pandemic with rude and uncaring people, harsh words and hate.

Why does it take a pandemic to bring out the good in people? Rudeness, lack of compassion and disrespect are more for the fictional characters in movies like The Grinch, The Joker or even our Marketing Director, Doug (just kidding about that last one, but he does fill the sarcastic quota with me!). You see it every day on TV now, people outside clapping for their neighbor, a hospital worker, or people donating to feed first responders or those less fortunate. Grocery store workers stocking shelves and bagging groceries are actually getting a thank you from people now, and there are so many more stories of good. Why wasn't that the norm? Why do we need to have celebrities on TV asking us to be compassionate or to donate for those less fortunate? Why don't we do all this already? Why can't we be kind all the time instead of being prodded to do so?

We live in a world with smart phones and other connected devices no less than 2 feet away at any time (some even take them into the bathroom with them…you know who you are!). Social media is only a tap away and you can either be instantly gratified or horrified by what you see. I know I'm dating myself, but I grew up in a world with corded phones that weren't smart but rather a nuisance in that they had rotary dials and you had to wait for the rotary to come back before you dialed the next number. We had no remote controls, I was our remote control growing up! If my parents wanted to watch something else on TV, they asked one of us to get up and change the channel (or threw something at you – it was a crap shoot in my house). If we wanted to know what was going in our neighborhood, we didn't check the news, we talked to our neighbors or went to the local store and talked to people. There was no instant gratification back then, we worked for it. We interacted with each other, not by smart phone or social media but IN PERSON. I know it's a crazy concept, but it was all we had, and it worked!  People were friendlier, polite and couldn't wait to see each other. That was normal!

These days people do whatever they have to do to avoid interacting with each other. Instead of calling someone, they text each other, even if they are in the same room! We don't smile or wave to people anymore. We don't talk to our neighbors; we just go in our homes and close the door on the rest of the world. I can't tell you how many times I've heard people say the more I deal with people, the more I like my dog, cat, fish or whatever animal you want to substitute. We shouldn't accept that behavior as normal anymore but instead work towards a new normal of peace and kindness! We don't need to go back to the times of corded phones or no remotes, but we do need to go back to the time when we respected each other and their opinions. A time when people were genuinely happy to see other people. A time not long ago where we did for others happily because it felt good. That was normal and should still be.

If we don’t strive for a new normal, then we are all in trouble. We need to put forth good in this world again, not hate, and not just because there's a crisis. We saw what happened after 9/11, when this country came together and supported each other, and what our flag stood for and all the people who sacrificed their lives for it. We need to see patriotism not division; we need to see happiness not hate; we need to see people put their electronics away and be present. This should be the new normal, and if it is, I'll accept it gladly. As for the world as it is now in this state of unease and unrest in a pandemic, that is not the new normal and you shouldn't accept it as such. Please reach down deep and say no to the people that drag us down, the news that depresses us because it's so biased, the politicians that are clearly only out for themselves and not the people they represent. Say no to the people scowling and complaining, just smile at them, it really disarms them and maybe they'll think twice about what's causing their misery. We need a new normal and that means looking deep within yourself and figuring out what we need to be happy and do it. We need to love one another again and bring back morality and decency. Take time to lift someone up instead of hopping on their pity train. Spread love instead of hate. If that is the new normal, then there's hope for the future, and we all need a little hope right now. Stay safe, be well and show a little kindness to others, it does make a difference and goes a long way!

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