This Is Our Opportunity to Imagine How the World Could Look.

We must not go back-to-normal, because normal wasn’t working. I have no idea who said this, but it sums up how I plan to respond to these difficult times.

Sunrise over the Tugela Canyon at Zingela Safari, Zulu Kingdom (South Africa.)

As the #stayhome days mount up, one phrase keeps bouncing around the world: “When everything goes back to normal…..” even though deep-down, we know it can never, ever be exactly as it was before. Just as 9/11 forever changed the way we fly, so will this pandemic forever change the way we live. Change can be brutal, and we grieve for what’s lost, but maybe now is the perfect time to not go back to normal? What if we left behind some of the things that weren’t working, and rewrote the way forward?

Worldwide, people are recognizing that there are aspects of our Before-Covid (BC) life that should quietly fade away and not make an appearance in our new world. Although we did not instigate this catastrophic change, we can use it to grow. I believe now is the time to embrace the new behaviors that are working.

Examples of “not going back to normal” but instead adopting newly discovered behaviors have popped up across all media:

 A CEO of a Fortune 500 company said he had evidence that virtual shareholder meetings not only worked but were accepted. Moving forward, he planned to stop all the unnecessary airplane trips by his top execs. If the deal or meeting could take place virtually, they would be doing so. Yay! Fewer private jets flying over my house, less pollution in the atmosphere. 

A friend announced on social media she had finally broken her habit of ordering-in dinner. She re-found her old love of cooking and was already reaping the benefits; better portion control, lower sodium, and fewer trans fats. Yay, for better health.

A small business owner tweeted how she would now be open to work-from-home days for her employees. Her staff had been requesting this for years, but she was deeply skeptical it would work. Now she had proof. Yay, a better work/life balance for them.

“Old normal” kicked to the curb; new, better behaviors embraced with gusto—yay.

So, I looked at my old normal to see what I was now doing differently, and one small thing struck me—I was picking up the phone. I have family and friends all over the world, but in the past decade, our communication was limited to texts or emails. I’ve rediscovered the simple joy of hearing the voice of someone thousands of miles away. I intend to leave the texts in my BC world and continue to pick up the phone. 

Can you think of another time when humankind paused and had the opportunity to reimagine how the world could look? Now is that time!

I encourage you to reimagine your own life. Grab a pen and write down 3 things you will leave behind in your BC world. Perhaps you drop one activity from your crazy, over-scheduled life and keep taking that after-dinner stroll.  Perhaps, you leave the endless screen time behind and keep out the jigsaw puzzles and knitting project. Perhaps, you will continue to check in on your elderly neighbor, or maybe it is something as simple as continuing the now ingrained hands-washing habit. 

We have been handed a rare gift, let’s us not be too quick to rush back into our old lives without thinking hard about what wasn’t working.

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