Finding a “new normal”

Whether watching the news, scrolling through social media posts, or just talking with friends and family, the phrase “new normal” abounds. I have been thinking about this a lot lately…I mean, I have a bit of time on my hands to ponder life’s deeper philosophical questions.

So, I ask myself, what WAS my normal? In order to know how to find and navigate something new, I must first understand the old. The other day my daughter asked me what animal I would be if I could choose. I said a bird so I could fly anywhere and nowhere all at the same time. She pressed in and asked, ok, but what animal REPRESENTS you? I thought for a while….and I came up with a bee. Yes, a bee. Most likely a honeybee. No, I do not see myself as the queen bee, although my kids may disagree. I see myself as a worker bee, as worker bees are BUSY. They are social and cooperative by nature, and they do the WORK- foraging for food, building the honeycombs, and aggressively protect their queen. They are constantly on the move, constantly tending to the needs of the greater good, and ALWAYS BUZZING. They have a role to play, and without them, the queen would die, and flowers wouldn’t pollinate.

It’s all good for the worker bee in Spring- roles are clear and defined, and all is well. But when spring is over, the worker bees die. Their roles are over. New workers will replace the old and the lifecycle continues. So I find myself “done with spring”…. what do I do now? What is my new normal? As I allow myself to sit quietly with this, I think about my life right now. I do not feel that constant internal buzzing as deeply-it is now a faint motor somewhere in the back of my brain. When I get up, the first thoughts on my mind are about the world-not my to do list for the day. I sit quietly outside on my patio and listen to the birds, and watch the squirrels. I have made some intentional decisions about being still. This is a misnomer for me, and it is something that I have to consciously focus on. I deliberately have coffee with my college children and work to see them as the independent women they are becoming. I then put my “home school teacher” hat on and get my boys settled for a day of online learning. I make a grocery list and long for toilet paper….I disinfect the kitchen and start a load of laundry….buzz buzz.

I hear the internal buzzing as my day gets going. And I respond by breathing deeply, begin focusing on activities that fill up my tank. I am coloring- yes, coloring. I am working on creative home projects. I am reading my Bible and worshiping with my family. I am checking in on friends and family. I am taking long walks with my kids. I am praying….for my community, nation, and world. I am focused on BEING HERE NOW.

My new normal changes daily. I do not know what it will look like when this pandemic is over, yet I know it will be different. I don’t want to go back to constantly buzzing, never resting, and missing the most important parts of my life. I want to focus more on relationship- with others, with myself, and with God. In my new normal, I want to be a butterfly. Butterflies work hard to BECOME. And after all the work of the caterpillar, the reward is a lighter, more graceful being that balances work with being. Just being.

What animal/insect are you? What do you want to become? How will you use this time to be intentional and present, and form YOUR new normal? I’d love to hear from and learn from you!

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