When the Unusual Becomes Ordinary

Our physical space is now different – and the negative space (areas that are emptier) with feels bigger. We have more room to stretch and to think. Fewer people are out and about, driving on the California freeways feels open and I can press my right foot on the gas a little harder. 

There are benefits to distancing and wearing a mask, such as avoiding strangers and acquaintances alike, keeping mouth breathers from encroaching on my space, and not smelling cigarette smoke. There are also major costs to distancing, like being able to see close family and friends (and hug), going to parties, and returning to offices.

One aspect I’m really missing, though, is live music. I miss live, in-person performances and seeing people’s joy. My client remarked recently that she feels like her young adulthood is closing in and she’s losing her years of partying. We both busted up laughing when the words fell out of her mouth. Then I reminded her that many others are in agreement and when society reopens, maybe we will all be more apt to have fun and work smarter, rather than living to work.

A year ago, this would have been completely bizarre. Now the masks and distancing have become pedestrian. We’ve grown accustomed to this habit of covering our faces and standing six+ feet from friends, family, and strangers. We are more careful not to bump into each other, steering our bodies into empty paths and aisles even if it takes longer. I’m avoidant of getting near people and stepping on their toes, both physically and emotionally, during this isolating time. 

A benefit of the pandemic has been self-reflection, and that can only be done with space. When I look in my bathroom mirror, I see my image because I have distance. When I’m too close to the mirror, I only see my pores and hair follicles. I pull back to gain perspective. That’s what the pandemic has helped me with: gaining perspective because I have space and time, two things that are often an overdrafted premium. 

The negative space in my life has made me closer to a few friends I don’t normally have the luxury of talking to for hours on end. Without as many meetings and activities to attend at night, I’m wide open for deep connection, quieter projects, reading, and cooking. All the things I like doing, I do more and better now. In other words, I’ve been more creative and receptive.

I was naïve in thinking the lockdown would be a few months. Always hopeful and positive, I didn’t expect the rest of the year to be like this. My mindset believed we would stay home during the strict lockdowns and things would be okay. I didn’t anticipate months of concerts and school being postponed, rescheduled, and ultimately cancelled. What was at the beginning unusual, foreign, and completely out of character for our lives has now become “the new normal” and even ordinary. 

We never leave the house now without a mask, carrying hand sanitizer is obvious, and realizing that things simply take longer is expected. 

Funny how our mindsets adjust. Now that (almost) everyone does this, it’s just par for the course. 

Of course I miss my old life. I miss it as much as you probably miss yours. Things are less externally busy now, which has taken some time adjusting to. My mindset is one of finding the silver linings in an otherwise difficult situation. I’ve realized the ordinariness of Covid is a perfect breeding ground for creativity. I’ve been adding and subtracting things from my life.

How are you adding and creating new things to your life?

I’ve been making some interesting ice cream flavors, like Mexican chocolate and Dole Whip. I’m taking a business development class, which has shifted my mindset on growing my Coaching business.

What are you subtracting?

I’ve decided to set some greater boundaries in my personal life, and I’ve removed some toxic relationships. This has been extremely liberating. Looking at my inner critic is helping me focus on the wise, sage voice inside of me, too (more on this in an upcoming post).

All of this being said, there are benefits to the ordinariness of life during Covid. The connections and slowness, the self-reflection, the sweetness for how things will feel when this is over… all of it is reason for acknowledgment. I’m noticing that people’s anxiety has also been decreasing, which is great to see. I hope we can continue to stave anxiety and depression into the winter months.

For discussions on the ordinariness of this, how your anxiety has changed, if you’re feeling bored, if life feels stagnant, or how to date and meet people in a pandemic, please contact me.

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