Can things really go back to being normal? Is normal what we really want? Is it an accurate description of where we were? We're only halfway through 2020 and it's already a big fat wake up call. The abrupt shift to home-life gave me a moment to rethink "normal". I wanted to capture a few things that I've switch perspective on.
Before I felt anywhere near normal my immediate reaction to the pandemic was low-level anxiety. Is the hype real? Will I get it? If so could I die? Is my family ok? Are my friends ok? Will our company be ok? Will work dry up? Are our clients ok? How long will this last?
The first month felt like a week. Balancing personal and business concerns was emotionally draining. Checking status & hatching plans™ became the routine. Day after day of glitchy experiences on FaceTime, Zoom, Skype, Teams 💩 and working through new things like home-schooling. It all just felt... weird. Thankfully Australia was fairly swift to control the spread and the impact was fairly minor. It was now a case of making Quarantino-lyfe™ work.
Here's my list of things that have bubbled to the surface, challenging my idea of normal 👇:
Time: The biggest impact of staying home is savings on time. Travelling to work, dropping kids to school, going to social events, making trips to the shops—these are all huge time holes. I'm now spending more time hanging with the kids, cooking, reading, writing, thinking and dare I say, hobbies!
Noise: It's now clear looking back, how much noise fills our days. It feels selfish but the forced quarantine provided me the time I needed to look inward. Focussing more on what I want to be doing instead of what I should be doing. Less pressured social commitments ftw.
Fitness: My regular routine used to be gym 3-4 days per week doing cardio, calisthenics and weights. I'm now running outdoors and have found creative ways to do body weight training. It's refreshing. On a purely aesthetic level there's been no difference.
Retail: The clothing shopping experience is broken. Was it ever right? I loathe the idea of going to a mall, browsing shops, trying on clothes, doing the awkward chats to validate why I do don't want to buy something. I'd thought this for a while but quarantine highlighted it's weak necessity. I'm willing to run the gauntlet with sizing and fit, occasioanly return things if it means I can skip the in-person retail dance.
Office Work: For me it's easy to work remote. I'm lucky. My career choice means I only need a computer to get things done. The pandemic has given remote work the world wide trial run it needed. The notion of a 9-5 office job has been fading for a while.
Ad Suckling: A extra tidbit that's come more for me is how much value social media apps are actually bringing to me on a day to day. I've noticed more and more how much apps like Instagram are a glorified ad network, a persuasion machine. You're participating in their ad network, sprinkled with some personal content to make it feel otherwise. I've started pushing myself to think of using my devices when I want to seek out information instead of leaning on my device to feed me the information I might be interested in.
So here we are, half way through 2020. Covid-19 still wreaking havoc and the BLM movement is running strong. Who knows what the rest of the year looks like. For now, we're a long way from normal and it doesn't look like we're going back any time soon 💩.