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A New Normal

Life is change, change is life. This is the way of things. 

Some would say that as soon as we’re born, we’re dying. So, to die wise, we must inevitably go through countless shifts, adjustments, adaptations, and evolutions throughout our journey; the necessary mess and chaos amidst the imminent order to come, gazed upon objectively, one may presume, upon our ultimate graduation from this living school.

Our world, at this moment, is suffering and struggling through a normalcy bias (transformed from the initial denial and complacency, to a panic and anxiety-fueled desperation), while at the same time, being conditioned and primed for the next situation of its kind. Thus, a new normal is defined. Whether it be through conscious choice, the manipulation of societal and world narratives, or by chance, the convulsive push is emotionally, cognitively and spiritually jarring. At first, it takes many by surprise, for even though there have been rumblings and surges of similar events in the past, nothing has so drastically hit this close to home, such as the hysteria-inducing circumstances we find ourselves in today, in March, of the year 2020. 

It’s a shame that such grand and broad changes come primarily by way of fear — yet perhaps that is the only way, given the parameters and structures in place at this point in history. We live in a death-phobic world. Additionally, the age-old systems and controllers-that-be elect to curb and curtail civil and societal liberties, for the sake of protecting borders, political establishments, and the all-powerful, all-important market. And we play along, somewhat blindly. Sure, there will be some pushback and resistance — by the few who are still somewhat aware — yet as our normal, comfortable realities have just been interrupted and disturbed, we’ll give in. We’ll give it away. Later on, we’ll give away some more, having become accustomed to the erstwhile discomfort, dismay and disarray. We’re grateful for someone or something to care enough to maintain a sense of normalcy for us. To protect and to serve us. Yet nothing is for free, especially freedom.

There are of course parallels in our own personal stories, as the macro always mirrors the micro. As a child, the world is entirely open to us — if we’re fortunate to be born into a society and a family that supports such a notion. Everything is new, everything is possible. The game is the thing, and everything is a game. It’s a never-ending playground, and an ever-evolving narrative of no bounds. Slowly, we are shaped, guided, instructed, taught and trained. We take on the externalities of environment, advice, nurturing, influences and disciplines, ideally blending our innate, natural tendencies. Maybe we’re permitted to pursue that which draws, compels and excites us. Maybe we’re pushed along similar paths to those who are raising us. Maybe we’re carted off to institutions to be cared for and conformed by others, entrusted by our guardians to an extraordinary degree into the hands and halls of aliens.

From childhood, to adolescence, to adulthood, to old age and death. Every stage, a new normal. Every stage, untimely and chaotic until it settles, and it rarely settles for long enough. On paper, it may seem to be a singular life, but we know differently — even if every time we remember events, we color in certain aspects with alternate shades and tonality, based on our current normal. A curriculum vitae relates relevant achievements and experiences, favorable personality traits and character selling points, but it’ll never do justice to the myriad steps, falls, tumbles and recoveries that were required and ultimately endured along the way. 

It is true that if we are never pushed beyond our comforts and familiarities, that we cannot grow. The world around us keeps proving to be nothing if not uncomfortable, regardless of how familiar it may appear to be. Life has a way of insisting that we challenge ourselves, no matter how far we may try to run from it, or how repetitive and trivial and ordinary it may occasionally be. When we are shut down, or locked down, quarantined or isolated, we can choose to defer and delay our challenges, but, as we’ve discovered, a new normal can be forced upon us at any time. 

Wouldn’t it be wiser, and perhaps less chaotic, to embrace and examine and yield to the momentum, and dive into the moment, so to seek its rewards instead? In every paradigm shift, there is tremendous personal and collective uncertainty, but there is also a tremendous opportunity to reassess and redefine and codify our new normal deliberately, consciously and alertly. 

Don’t give it away.

Solvitur ambulando