The New Normal

Welcome to the constant state of change.

We are now living in a constant state of change. At least, it feels that way. We were comfortable. Change was gradual. Until it wasn’t.

Our approach to addressing the pandemic is continually changing. Information is given and immediately is corrected. Although this is somewhat understandable, it is still very frustrating.

But this frustration is not new. The constant state of change has always existed; how we adjust to it is what is essential.

This constant state of change has always existed.

The truth is that we, and the universe around us, are always changing. Nothing in life remains the same. Everything in life is subject to the laws of physics. From the moment we are born, we are dying.

constant change grand canyon
The Grand Canyon is an example of gradual but constant state of change.

We will notice the significant changes involving birth, death, expansion, and destruction. But sometimes, change is so gradual that we do not perceive that it is happening.

Imagine that you are seeing a good friend after several years of separation.

Your friend might immediately notice any changes in your waist-line, receding hairline, or graying hair. They might tell you how much you’ve changed since they last saw you. And you might communicate similar comments to them.

However, if you have not seen each other in a couple of months, the amount of change you see after this brief separation is often surprising. Both of you may recognize the difference in the other individual but be blissfully unaware of how much you have changed.

We have been navigating change for our entire life but the rate at which we perceive it has changed.

We have been navigating change for our entire life but the rate at which we perceive it has changed. Click To Tweet

The immediacy of our social networks and media provide a continuous stream of those changes, regardless of how significant or small those changes may be.

Events and new cycle change so rapidly that we lose all sense of stability.

This constant state of change is the new normal.

Some have described this constant state of change as the new normal.

The phrase, the New Normal, entered public use in 2008 to describe the swiftly changing conditions in the business world.

the new normal in business.
The term new normal was coined by the business world.

The business model was changing. Some of the old models of business were no longer successful. The companies that adapted to the new realities thrived. The companies that were resistant to change found themselves losing market share and sometimes closing their doors.

But, over time the term was annexed into our language to describe social relationships as well.

I remember that after my mother-in-law passed away, my father-in-law commented that he was having difficulty adjusting to the new normal.

I can understand his desire to return to what had been before. No matter how much he wanted too, he was powerless to return to what had been. The old normal was his married life. The new normal was a life without his wife.

I do not understand my, or others, reluctance to change, especially when the change is for my benefit.

Why do we respond so poorly to change? Why do we often prefer stability over change?

We prefer stability vs. change.

Stability vs. change. The Status Quo is usually preferred. Occasionally a transition is pushed upon us, and we need to push through it. But sometimes, we will resist change even when it is apparent that it is necessary and even beneficial.

If we have a lousy boss, we hope for a replacement but are reluctant to ‘let go of the devil we already know.’ We may stay in a job that is a poor fit because we are afraid of the unknown.

And that same fear of change is apparent in our romantic and platonic relationships. A good relationship is stable but able to adapt to the inevitable evolving circumstances of life.

In the USA, our elections provide security and moderate change by gradually replacing only a portion of its members in each election.

Our technologies are gradually improved, and our acceptance of these changes are also gradual.

Stability vs. change
Stability vs. change. We are reluctant to accept change.even when it is beneficial.

For us to implement change, we must see an actual benefit to ourselves.

We change jobs because we believe it will improve our financial condition and level of personal satisfaction.

We begin and cultivate relationships with the hope that we will grow closer over time.

When we adapt to new technologies, we expect to see an improvement in our customer experience.

If constant change is the new normal, how do we adjust to it?

Working electronically from home has led to a blurring of our work and home life. Many of us do not know how to disconnect from work. Our minds are still working out what still needs to be done at work, even after we have turned our laptops off.

The constant presence of our families can also lead to an underlying tension in the home. The introverted family member is craving silence. The extroverted family member wants to talk non-stop. Children are bundles of endless energy who have no place to expend it. How we view this will affect our experience. We can see it as an obstacle to getting things done or as an opportunity to build better relationships.

Unfortunately, our fear of missing out (FOMO) drives us to consume media without a break. We start the morning with news about the latest updates about the pandemic. We interact on social media and listen to the news outlets go from mass hysteria to feel-good stories and back again. We listen to our government looking for answers that they do not have.

We go to bed, upset, and anxious, and when we wake up the next morning, we repeat the cycle.

We need to adjust our mindset and our behaviors to navigate this constant state of change and avoid being overwhelmed.

We need to adjust our mindset and our behaviors to navigate this constant state of change and avoid being overwhelmed. Click To Tweet
mindset
We have to adjust our mindset to change.

Changing our mindset.

We can decide to be fully present every day. We don’t have to wait for things to change to begin to live fully. Every day is a gift, and we have to determine how we are going to use it.

We can remind ourselves that people change jobs even during wartime and global recessions.

Although this season is unlikely to last forever, we can be realistic and practical about the steps we need to take to survive.

We can try to look at obstacles as opportunities. There will be a significant number of businesses that will launch to meet needs that have arisen due to the Coronavirus. I was unfamiliar with what Zoom Meeting had to offer before the pandemic. Now I wish I could go back in time and buy their stock. Home deliveries, virtual learning, and the fast retooling of factories to create and deliver face-masks and ventilators are just a few ways that obstacles have turned into opportunities for some.

Changing our behaviors.

behaviors and change
We may need to change our behaviors and routines.

In an age of information overload, we need to unplug occasionally.

We need to set boundaries on our media consumption at the start and end of the day.

We need time to process information. Try skipping a full 24 hours from the news cycle and social media sites. You might be surprised by how little relevant information you have missed.

You can be sure that if something is vital that your friends and family members will communicate it to you.

Beginning a journal to write about what you are feeling can be beneficial.

Reading a book is a great way to unwind. You can apply for a library card online and check out eBooks online through services like Libby.

We know that exercise does not require a gym membership. A good pair of walking shoes and time in the sunshine can do wonders for our outlook on life. But instead, we sit on the couch as if we have forgotten how to walk.

Call to Action.

What obstacles do you see that might be new opportunities? What new actions from the list above can you try this week?

See you next week. Thanks for reading.

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