Maybe I Don’t Want Things To Go back to Normal

Maybe I Don’t Want Things To Go back to Normal

As we reach the end of another month in quarantine, there’s a lot of talk about re-opening our state (and country), about getting things back to normal.

Maybe it’s strange, but I’m not sure I want things to go back to normal.

I know a lot of hard things are happening right now. Some of us are very sick, or worried about family and friends who are. You might have even lost someone special to you. Even those of us in good health are worried about jobs, paying the bills, our children’s education, and more. We are grieving special things that didn’t get to happen: weddings, the school play, concerts, prom, graduation. As I share my thoughts, I don’t want you to think I’ve forgotten about any of the very real dangers, stress, and trauma we are experiencing. And I know my experience might not be your experience.

But in the “look on the bright side” view of Corona-Quarantine, we have been given a very special gift, one I’ve heard called “The Grand Pause”. 

All my life, everyone (including myself) laments how busy they are. We complain about our overscheduled children (no matter that we are the ones who overschedule them!) and how quickly the years go by. We work too hard, don’t get enough sleep, and struggle just to catch a much-needed breath once in a while.

And so, the universe gave us a gift.

The Grand Pause made everyone take a step back and see what a more uncomplicated life might look like. In most cases, we’re working less, and connecting more. We have stopped idolizing movie stars and athletes, and instead spend time glorifying the first responders, the teachers, and the frontline “essential” workers that have kept our country running. (We know you’re working more, and we thank you!)

We are eating family dinner (and lunch, and breakfast), playing board games together, taking family walks, and bike rides.

We are reaching out to others who don’t have a support system, donating masks to healthcare workers and friends, and dropping off groceries to the vulnerable who can’t go for themselves.

We’re playing Facebook games to connect with each other like it’s 2005, making and sharing positive memes, posting uplifting quotes, and in general, just being nice human beings!

Oh, I know the negative is still there if you look for it.

If nothing else, the Grand Pause made us aware of some very big failings in our federal and local government, in our education system, and in our healthcare system.

Still, I’m not sure I want the world to go back to normal.

When the country “reopens”, I hope the slower pace will continue. Let’s stop working ourselves to death. And can we make overscheduling our kids a thing of the past? Let’s continue to value family time over the twenty activities we could be doing.

Finally, I hope the world keeps celebrating the real heroes in our country instead of worshipping the stars on our screens. It will be the perfect time to focus our efforts on fixing the glaring problems the Grand Pause exposed.

When things do finally get back to normal, I hope it’s a whole new normal.

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Valerie Earnest
Valerie grew up Naperville, Illinois, and is a Midwestern girl at heart even though she spent 16 years in Phoenix. She moved to Marion in 2016 with her husband, daughter (14), and two sons (12 and 9). Valerie graduated from BYU with a degree in Instrumental Music Education. She is a former band director, a current substitute teacher and accompanist, and an avid reader and crafter.