After a longer-than-expected hiatus, I’ve returned to my blog. I have a lot of topics I could discuss, but my thoughts are jumbled. Until I sort them into some semblance of order, I’ll refrain from posting on those subjects.
One topic that I feel ready to address is the idea of normalcy.
Specifically, I feel like many of us are rushing to return to a sense of normalcy. And by “normalcy,” I think a lot of us mean “the lives we led before the pandemic.”
And yet, we haven’t fully processed how the pandemic affected us.
I recently watched “The Me You Can’t See” on Apple TV+, which is a 6-part discussion about mental health produced by Oprah Winfrey and Prince Harry, Duke of Sussex. (If you have access, it’s well worth watching.)
At one point in the series, Prince Harry notes that the global pandemic has affected everyone on the planet in some way. That we all have experienced a traumatic event and, as a result, have been changed by our experiences.
And, while I agree with his assessment that the pandemic is a traumatic event that will affect people for years to come, I’m not convinced that it has affected everyone.
To be more specific, I don’t think the pandemic will change people’s behaviors as much as it could. And, perhaps, the pandemic hasn’t changed us as much as it should.
What I mean is that I had hoped the pandemic would prompt a large percentage of our planet’s population to really examine our lives and how our societies and economies worked.
I thought we might recognize how unfair it is that richer countries accessed vaccines far more quickly than poorer countries.
I wanted us to see that the people who are/were most at risk from the pandemic were those whose jobs paid the least. Or those with chronic health conditions and who often lacked adequate healthcare.
I had hoped we would learn how interconnected we are and how fragile our infrastructures, ecology, and mental health truly are. How important physical and mental health are to each person’s quality of life. How healthcare is as necessary as food, clean water, and shelter to each person’s survival.
I wanted us to have long, hard talks about how we could restructure our planet’s economies to provide better lives for a larger percentage of humanity. I hoped those conversations would bring about systemic changes that put the well-being of living beings—humans, plants, and animals—before profits and industry.
I think those conversations and systemic changes are still possible.
But they won’t occur if we rush to resume the lives that we lived before the pandemic without asking ourselves if those are the lives we want to resume.
I’ll return to this topic from several angles in the coming weeks and months because my spouse and I are asking those questions of ourselves and each other. Neither of us wants to return to our pre-pandemic work schedules and stressors.
Right now, we aren’t sure what the next stages of our lives will look like. The one constant in the equation is that we’ll face the journey together.
Aside from that, everything else is a variable.
I hope you’ll join me on the journey. And if you have thoughts about how the pandemic affected you, please share them in the comments. As always, I’d love to hear what other people are thinking.