Moving to the Next Normal

Everything can change at any moment, suddenly and forever.
– Paul Auster

The effects of the COVID-19 global pandemic have arrived and hit hard. Public spaces including the beach (Bondi, NSW) pictured above have been closed and social distancing has become part of the new reality. To date, the United States has over 1,000,000 confirmed cases of the disease and over 55,000 related deaths. By comparison Australia is doing fine: just under 7,000 cases and only 92 deaths but Australia has been taken the whole issue much more seriously.

I may have been dealing with the situation better than most because I have faced-off that situation of everything changing in a moment, suddenly and forever before – when I was sick in my early thirties.

Everyone always believes that death is somewhere far off in the distance. In point of fact it can happen to any of us at any time. I remember when I was sick, standing at some traffic lights waiting to cross the street, when a semi-trailer came around the corner, too fast, and too close to the curb. Somehow a woman, standing right on the very corner, got swept up into its wheels. The woman was crushed and dead by the time the paramedics reached the scene. I remember thinking that she would have gone about her life, whether it was work or homemaking as if it was any other day, not realising that it was her last day.

In truth that it how it is for all of us, only we don’t think about it. We don’t think about it until we have to because it brought to our attention by something like a life threatening illness. Then it takes all the power of will that you have to deny death and get better. However, both the denial and the strength of will are scary, take an enormous amount of energy, energy that some people just don’t have.

Some years after I had got better, two of my best friends had girlfriends, who were around the same age as I was when I got sick, who also got cancer. Neither of them survived. They were remarkable, passionate, strong women, and I couldn’t understand why I had survived and they hadn’t. I believe it was because I acknowledged my situation and adapted. I didn’t look back to what I was losing, but forwards to what I might gain.

Everything has also changed with work. Like so many companies dealing with business during a global pandemic, we have had to “pivot”. The strategy that we had to start our business this year is not going to work because EVERYTHING has changed and we need to change with it.

The new direction seems strange and daunting, as “changing horses midstream” often does, but it also “feels” right. This business adventure has been consistently teaching me not just to trust my gut, but to check with my gut before proceeding with anything. This has been particularly challenging for me as though my intuition is strong (my “gut” has a lot to say!) In the past I haven’t listened to it as much as I could have. I have “done the math” and if it “all adds up in my head” then I have trusted the “logic” of my mind over the “feeling” of my heart, often to my disadvantage.

Everything has changed and there will be no going “back to normal” as that never happens, there is only going forward to the next “normal” whatever that looks like.

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