We call, whatever it is that we’re going through, 'the new normal'. But blogger Donatella thinks it all is very much exceptional.
Two months in, whatever it is that we’re all going through, including education going online and remote working, we’re all calling it nonchalantly ‘the new normal’. But no, despite it being definitely, to some extent, relatively new, no, it is not normal. Instead, it is very much exceptional, temporary, not how we want things to stay.
The Actual New Normal
Yes, we’re getting very good at managing webinars and breakout rooms, at making quite cool events on Zoom, at staying at home as much as possible, at avoiding people and at sewing and selling colourful face masks of doubtful efficacy. But let’s not allow our words and phrasing to persuade us: this is not normal. What we should very much call normal, instead of Skype meetings, is, say, bread making. Growing vegetables. Baking. Reading books. Walking. These are some of the things we should call ‘normal’ and protect as the new advances, achievements, incredible (re)discoveries, to bring with us ‘afterwards’, in what will eventually be the Actual New Normal.
A great opportunity
This confusing transition that from now on I’d like to name The Temporary Normal has brought a bunch of things, some new, some very old, some welcome, some not so welcome. The Temporary Normal offers the great opportunity of choosing what’s worth bringing, keeping or introducing from scratch in the future Actual New Normal. What will you bring with you? What do you want your new normal to look like? What do you definitely want to leave behind?
For once, instead of decorating the tunnel, we should focus on the light at the end of it, the Actual New Normal in front of us, and make sure not to fall in old sick patterns, mental traps, societal constructs, or whatever it is that we did not really like about the Old Normal.
The Actual New Normal has an incredible potential to be new on a massive scale — but also a very high chance of going completely to waste if we don’t seize the opportunity and get distracted by the colour choice for the fairy lights to hang in the tunnel.
Donatella Gasparro graduated last month as a Master’s student in Organic Agriculture; she hails from Italy.