Welcome to 'Newmal'..... (that's new normal)
As we begin our 300th week in lockdown, or perhaps that's just how it feels! One of the curious things I have found with our new slower pace of life is its ability to create meaningful space and time to reflect on ourselves, our lives, our jobs and our environment. It's not the kind of rushed reflection that we manage to momentarily squeeze into yet another hectic day, usually after sighing loudly and asking ourselves 'what am I doing this for?' Lockdown reflection feels calmer, more introspective, it brings weightier wonderings and a lot of uncomfortable silences. Or perhaps that's just the lack of traffic noise!
My own reflections during lockdown have focused primarily on who I am, and what I want out of life moving forward. We are continuously being informed that the lives we once had may not return. We are entering 'newmal' (new normal). Newmal can be anxiety inducing, because for the most part we are completely unsure what form it will take, how long it will last and what our role within it will be. And yet, it could also be one of the most liberating times we have ever experienced as a collective.
'Newmal' is a blank slate of sorts, an opportunity to re-shape our lives to align with our needs in a meaningful way.
Not a fantastical instagram post kind of way, you know the one, with a million hashtags that all resemble some iteration of living my best life, when the truth is far from glamorous. Instead an authentic re-alignment based on real reflection and a new reality.
One of the most important parts of this collective realignment is our ability to prioritise what's actually important. Not what we think should be important, or what we have been told is important, what is genuinely and personally important to us as individuals.
Covid-19 and its daily death tolls, imposed lockdowns and constant talk of staying home and saving lives, has brought many of us face to face with mortality, other peoples and to a lesser extent for those of us as yet untouched by the virus, our own. A large number of us may well have asked ourselves the hypothetically scary question, if I ended up on a ventilator facing an uncertain outcome would I be satisfied with the life I have lead?
It is a heavy question and one that has many different possible avenues of response, in a nutshell it would be hard to quantify with a single yes or no response and yet deep down we would know which parts of our lives we have perhaps wrongly prioritised to the detriment of others. I would fathom a guess that they would be the usual culprits, work/life balance, adventure, passion, creativity, family, relaxation and fun!
So in this moment of pause when we begin to realise that not everything is urgent, but some things are important, let's not run from reflection. Let's take our new found time to delve deep into the core of our beings and ask ourselves;
'how can I create a 'newmal' that has more of what's actually important to me?'
Starting from a place of abundance is like a soothing antidote to the imposed restriction all around us.
Moving from pondering our realignment to taking action requires us to question ourselves, challenge long-held assumptions and build a vision to which we can attach specific actions.
The questions I have mostly found myself asking are:
1. When am I most happy? What am I doing in these moments and who am I with?
2. How can I have more of those moments?
3. What have I been grateful for in lockdown and how can I make sure its stays afterwards?
4. What is something I have always believed to be important but which lockdown has shown isn't really?
5. When was the last time I pushed myself out of my comfort zone? How can I create more of those opportunities for growth? 6. What mission in life or at work most inspires me? 7. What do I want to contribute to the world? 8. What have I realised I can/can't live without?
9. What have I always said I would like to do and never got round to it? How can I make it happen?
10. If I prioritised all the things that make me happy what would my life look like? Where would I be and what would I be doing?
This is by no means a prescriptive list of questions you should ask yourself, but they may just provide some food for thought to get you started.
We are about to witness our very own before and after moment, let's try as much as possible to ensure that there is a visible and discernible difference between the two.
We have an opportunity to tend to what's been discarded, repair what's been broken, introduce new textures and tones into the fabric of our lives and maintain the community that has come together to overhaul our expectations of what's possible when people work together.