It feels a bit like we're all emerging from a coocoon.
Still the same people, but at the same time also different. Changed. Transformed.
Although many of us have spent the lockdown period wishing things would "go back to normal", it's quite likely there are things that will never go back to the way they were.
Often, major events in life change the way we live forever. The birth of a child, for example. A change in work circumstances. Losing someone close to you. What's different about this, is that it's happening all at once, to everyone. It's hard to know where to turn for support, when everyone's struggling in one way or another.
As I've said before, I'm all about lifestyle change, but this is pretty extreme! The way we work, the way we interact - the way we live has changed forever.
When I'm talking to people about changing their own lifestyle in some way, I focus on creating a "new normal". After all, if you're changing eating habits that weren't working well for your body, it's not helpful to keep thinking of the old way as "normal". If the old way made you unhealthy, it's not something you want to go back to. You need to create a new normal, in which it becomes your usual habit to eat in the way that nourishes you and to avoid those foods which make you sick.
One way or another, humans love their routines. Deep down, most of us would like nothing so much as for tomorrow to be much the same as today, which is much the same as yesterday. Stability and routine make us feel safe. Losing those routines, even small, seemingly unimportant ones, makes us feels lost, and uneasy.
In my house, I'm generally the first to get up. And I make the coffee, and start getting things ready for the day. I make the coffee in much the same way every day, like a little ritual. Relaxing and drinking that first cup in the morning is like a meditation, a pause and relax before the business of the day begins, and no matter how early I need to be somewhere, I factor that time into my morning when deciding what time I need to get up.
If you think about it now, I'll bet you have some kind of ritual or habit like this in your day. Whether it's a morning routine, or a bedtime routine. Maybe you get your coffee at the same cafe every day on your break. (Or, some other drink, I guess... can you tell I enjoy my coffee?). Maybe you have other, longer-term routines, like a favourite holiday spot you go to yearly, or a favourite book or movie you turn to again and again.
Our cultures and surrounding societies build our lives around routines and rituals. Birthdays. Anniversaries. Yearly celebrations, whether it's Christmas, or Passover, or Ramadan. Rites of passage - weddings, First Communions, Bar Mitzvahs. We mark the passage of our lives with the repetition of these ceremonies, seeing them happen for others in our community even as they happened for us. (and we mark nearly all of them with food in some way, but that's a whole other topic!)
Now, think about how this pandemic time has changed your routines. Daily routines, large and small, have been altered - working from home, instead of going into an office; changes to how we interact with others in the shops we usually frequent, limits on numbers, standing differently in the queue, making sure we keep apart; changes to how we drop off and pick up at schools. Slowly now, some of those things are going back to how they were. But some things, large and small, are never going to be the same.
Embracing change is hard, for all of us. It's OK to mourn the loss of things that were - you can miss the old way and embrace the new, they're not mutually exclusive! Since things are changing anyway, can you fit something positive into your new normal?