OUR CURRENT STATE OF NORMAL
Dee Chadwick
05 Apr 2020
Our normal way of life has changed. It will, at some point in the future change to another version of normality. One different from today’s, and probably also different from our past normal. How are you adjusting to your current way of being?

HOW WE ARE AT PRESENT?

There are those of us who travel into work every day as they did before. However, this place of work may have changed, their role may have been tweaked, their hours extended. I am thinking of those designated as key workers, especially the doctors, nurses, medical and ancillary staff involved in caring for those with COVID 19 as well as those with on-going medical conditions. The care workers who make their rounds or support the elderly or sick in various residential settings. We also have those who are keeping our food supplies coming to us. The drivers, the supermarket and food shop owners, the many volunteers shopping for those unable to get out to do this for themselves. The delivery people and posties who are keeping our online buying delivered, our prescriptions topped up.

CHANGES WE HAVE MADE

There are those who are having to work from home. There actually can be pluses in this as their day is shortened by the length of their commute. There are those who will benefit from having a lie in; there are those who will benefit from starting their working day earlier, so long as anyone else involved is on board with this too. Then time to do what else floats your boat.

There are those who have their children at home and are, with the support of school or online resources home educating them. I know of two people who are running their businesses from home, working with 3 and 4 children and still finding time to prepare food for the family. It’s at times such as this that such strong women step up to the mark and simply get on with what has to be done. I respect and admire them.

There are those of us who are in isolation – hence my writing this in my conservatory so that I can wave to people passing by – I now do this whether I know them or not. One couple passed by yesterday and I waved – today, I had a cheery wave and smile in return. These little things do mean a lot. As do phone calls, connections via social media.

I feel that we older folk in this category are, in many ways, more prepared for such situations because of our history. I have to admit, that it was a much appreciated phone call from a friend this morning that reminded me of this fact. In our past we have coped with other difficult situations. OK, maybe not considered as difficult as the one in which we currently find ourselves, but still a good training ground for us.

As the saying goes – in no particular order there have been –

The Miners strikes with power stations and many households reliant on coal. 

The three day working weeks when television ended at 10.30; there were shortages especially of bread and petrol.

Times when the domestic electricity supplies were either iffy or cut off – candles and matches were always to hand in all rooms – though a bit like the toilet rolls were at the beginning of recent panic buying.

Periods of huge mortgage hikes – this happened to us and the only money that I had to feed the family was from my child benefit allowance. Despite having a baby and a toddler, I dug up the end of the garden and set to grow my own vegetables.

Periods of job uncertainty   modernisation and the collapse of many traditional industries with a work force ill prepared for the new industries replacing them.

Throw in the uncertainties of world situations, political unrest on the edge of possible warfare including of the nuclear variety.

Swine flu, foot and mouth disease, Spanish flu.

I guess all of these memories are stored away as part of our lived history, helping to shape the people that we are today. Gosh, I can even remember sweets still being rationed after the war and so  many areas around where I lived still awaiting post-war re-development.

Big changes to our recent normal of twenty-four hour, on demand everything and anything. Such big changes to our current shut downs, travel restrictions, isolations affecting not just us and ours, but so many other countries too. Certainly above and beyond previous experiences.

HOW WE ARE HELPING OURSELVES

If you have a faith, a belief, than allow yourself to lean on that for support, but listen to those of the medical profession, the experts in the field of viruses. Listen to understand the best ways to protect yourself, and help ourselves.

This reminds me of my father, a born again Christian. He didn’t live near to me, and refused to move away from his church, even though he was no longer able to attend. I had set up as much support for him as was possible, and as he would allow. This included getting a phone by his bed. I phoned every day and a couple of times a week I drove over to Manchester from my work in Warrington, before tracking home to my report writing at home in Cheshire. On one call my father, who had previously had a heart attack, told me that he had had chest pains in the night. I asked why he hadn’t called an ambulance, or at least called me. His response was ‘The Lord was with me’ – oh, how I wished that a paramedic had also been with him.

Maintain that contact with those that your love and care for.

Don’t let your sense of humour go into abeyance – ok, it may become somewhat darker but use it to lighten moments when things go wrong for you rather than castigating yourself.

Don’t forget to smile – to any others you are isolating with; those you are coming into contact with if still working or are out shopping; to yourself – they can’t lock you up for it – that’s already happened! Remember there’s a lot of angst around and we have no idea of just how much there is for many of the people we come within 2 meters of. A smile can reach across that space that hopefully this blooming virus can’t.

We can only take one day at a time. If it’s proving to not be a very good day, break it down into smaller chunks. Looking ahead is hard for all of us as there is so much uncertainty with regards to length of time involved and the number of people infected and affected. For once, forget the timed part of the SMART targets and allow yourself to think about getting together with those friends, giving and receiving hugs from loved ones, trips out, or just getting to know your new version of ‘normal’.

When push comes to shove, I think of how others in my own country, but also in other countries may be having to face the same struggles but in a very different way. A way succinctly brought home in The Guardian 

I then pick myself up and get on with getting on with my life, with  a whole heap of gratitude as my companion.

Do take care. Keep safe and well. 

You CAN so do this – but if you are struggling, pick up the phone to that friend, or to me. I am always happy to chat and you would be helping me as well as yourself. Dee

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