Everyone is calling social distancing and mitigation rules of the Covid-19 pandemic the "New Normal," but why are we calling it new and normal? Maybe, what we need to be acknowledging is that our socializing rules are changing once again just as they have always been changing through time and place.
Human communities are always changing to adapt to new circumstances and environmental challenges. Think back to public health in the Middle Ages when there weren't many sewers and healthy public water infrastructures or methods of dealing with diseases until the epidemics of leprosy, bubonic plague, smallpox, tuberculosis, scabies, erysipelas, anthrax and a host of other epidemics swept through Europe beginning in 542 and ending around 1348. The response to these diseases was the isolation of persons with communicable diseases. In addition, this became the impetus for the creation of pure water supplies, garbage and sewers and development of contact tracing and hospitals and medical care, especially in cities that we now call urban centers.
Change is always happening around us in small ways like moving from fifth grade to sixth grade or this year's must have fashions or in big and important ways like high school graduation and retirements. How we respond to this change is about our emotional response to change and how we will use this time of transition creatively. Will we hunker down and deny change is happening? Will we attempt to reclaim the way socializing was done before the pandemic by calling it the "good old days" and being angry that we can't continue socializing the way we we did? Or, will we consider the stories of change we have already lived through and couple those with the family stories of change to discover a new story emerging about a new life and its possibilities for abundance, generosity and kindness as we adapt to new circumstances and environmental challenges?
The key for living through physical change and our emotional response is to creatively embrace new stories defining our new identity and purpose for the different future we are inhabiting today.
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