The phrase “getting back to normality/normalcy” has been floating around a lot lately, but I want to challenge our thinking and consider, what is normal? The Atlantic recently wrote an article about the origins and the use of the word “normality/normalcy”. What’s interesting is how the word itself was birthed out of a time of turmoil to help bring back memories of a more soothing time, similar to the times we are currently experiencing. In the short term, it’s soothing, but the reality is, things have changed. So, how do we look forward?
I want to suggest us to think differently about this idea of getting through these difficult times by simply reminiscing about what life once was. To me, it feels a bit like we are simply trying to get over the fact that things have been extremely different and potentially traumatic for some, if not, many of us. It’s okay that this was your experience. A part of moving through life is recognizing the difficulties that we’ve encountered and how we’ve changed as a result of it. We can easily dismiss these feelings not validating that this experience is actually grief, as written about in the Harvard Business Review.
The honest truth is that our current life is not what we envisioned to be “normal”. If we are constantly chasing what normal could be, we won’t be able to be present in our current circumstances, as is. I have a feeling that in acknowledging how hard life currently is, how far we are from what “normal” is, will help us understand the grief we are all experiencing, and in turn lighten this invisible load we carry.
We miss travelling. We miss concerts. We miss being able to gather with larger groups of people. We miss our family in our home countries. We miss connection.
Acknowledging the hardships gives us permission to release ourselves of this pressure to “act normally” in abnormal circumstances. Through this, it also gives us permission to seek alternatives to help us cope more healthily. If we are not aware of what we are suffering through, we won’t be able to figure out what we need to help us move through it.