We toss around the word "normal" as if it should mean something, as if there is a gold standard we are all looking at to determine what is right and what is wrong. If we disregard right or wrong for a minute and look at what is typical, the last few days certainly do not measure up to normal. We are living in a time that is difficult to understand and accept and yet, it is becoming our new "normal." That being said, maybe we can stop missing the way things were and start embracing what they are, knowing that the old adage holds true that this too shall pass.
My new normal involves working from home which for me is not ideal. But all the kitty snuggles I get while I am working, just might make the change alright. Not having committee meetings and errands to run to in the evenings is a change for my husband and I yet, it also gives us time to catch up on TV shows, do some spring cleaning, finish a book and yes, even spend time just talking with each other. I have heard from several old friends and reached out to others, just to ask each other how we are doing. I have also watched as strangers offer to pick up groceries for others who may not be able to go out safely. I have seen the good in humanity.
A Rabbi I know well spoke recently of the error we are making by calling for social distancing. His point of view was that we are all social creatures and isolating will cause greater distress. This is especially true among those who live with mental health conditions. Now, I am not saying to go against CDC guidelines and plan a large get together. Rather, I am encouraging you to practice physical distancing while creatively maintaining social interactions.
If you have a smart phone, there are apps such as Facetime, Skype or WhatsApp that allow video chatting for free. Use this time to call someone you haven't spoken to for a while or check in with an elderly relative. Set up a "watch party" on one of the video chat services where you and a friend enjoy your favorite movie on separate TVs at the same time. You can't share the popcorn, but you can share comments and laughter from a far.
We are lucky to live in a day and age where we are able to keep our physical distance from others without losing our social connection. I hope you will take advantage of the technology in our lives to keep your social ties and find the "normal" that makes you happy.
Written by Nikki Rashes, CRSS