The New Normal

The last day of what I would characterize as ‘normalcy’ to me was Thursday, March 12th. That was the last day I went about my normal routine: wake up, yoga/stretching, morning tea time with the hubby, breakfast, running around the house to get me ready, the kiddos ready, lunches packed, book bags packed, work bag packed and ready to begin another crazy day in our life. Little did I know how much the world would change in just a few short months.

Fast forward to Wednesday, July 1st where I would take a break from ‘the new normal’. The morning started in a similar fashion to the old: wake up, yoga/stretching, morning tea time with the hubby…but it was less stressful. The drumbeat of the ticking time clock was gone. I didn’t have to be anywhere at any specific time – yes, I had to get ready for work and actually physically go in to the office for a few hours, but the micro minute, under the gun schedule was removed.

I was asked to head into work to greet customers and escort them to our lab. I was nervous at first: what if I’m exposed! (The horror!) But then I quickly realized that my trip there was likely safer than our weekly trips to the grocery store and golf course due to the weekly cleanings and reduced interactions with employees. The entire workforce had been directed to work from home as of the end of March, with the exception of a small group of employees that were required to be on site.

As I was getting ready, I was reminded of my first days returning to work from maternity leave. After months of yoga pants and messy buns, the refreshing morning ritual of shower, hair/make-up and getting dressed into non-yoga clothes was refreshing. And I giggled to myself as I was putting make up on, transported back to that first day back to work from maternity leave, where I distinctly remember humming “I feel pretty, oh so pretty” from West Side Story. Curious if my work clothes still fit and if I faced the amusing ‘Covid-19’ weight gain, I cautiously stepped into my work pants and slowly zipped/buttoned. With a wince on my face, I breathed a sigh of relief – it fits! That same cautiously optimistic demeanor continued as I put in my earrings – phew, they didn’t close!

I kissed the family, and headed out the door and enjoyed the next 10 minutes of complete silence. It was completely glorious and somewhat meditative, reminding me of how important those ‘brain breaks’ are during the day. Prior to March 12th, I took for granted the commute to and from work, which I realize now is so critically important, allowing you to regroup and mentally prepare for whatever phase you are transitioning to: Mama to Leader or vice versa.

The biggest takeaway I had of the day had to do with the interactions with my team at work, those few members who were required to be onsite, and with the customer. I definitely noticed a shift in the communication: more focused, intent listening, intent eye contact driving connection. Since our mouths are covered, we seem to be using our eyes as the connection point to demonstrate we are committed to the conversation, which is exactly how it should be, but we were so preoccupied in the past.

I remember having a conversation with the hubby at the start of the year talking about how busy were were, how over scheduled our lives seemed to be and that now, is gone. My ‘attitude of gratitude’ has grown exponentially over the past three months and I feel more alive and awake than ever before. Recreating the simple task I executed every day prior to March 12th brought a realization of how much I was operating on autopilot before, and how much more in-tune I seem to be in this new normal. 2020 has brought in a new decade, and a new normal, one that we could not have expected. Every day appears to have a new challenge to deal with and while many days are scary, and we do not know what the future holds, there is hope in recognizing and embracing this new normal.

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