To find normal is tough during these co-vid times.
If you know the 1970 song by Chicago referenced in my title, then you may have hummed the next line: “Does anybody really care?”
On a recent Tuesday evening, I was among the same four people who have been trapped inside our house for the past two months. I said, “Well, at least tomorrow is Friday.” The other three sat there for a moment and finally someone asked, “Wait, is tomorrow really Friday?” I screamed, “NO. Tomorrow is Wednesday.” (It wasn’t a scream of anger, but of emphasis.)
Does anybody really know what time it is? Does anybody really care?
Prisoners of war found that keeping track of time was both difficult and essential to find normal. Losing track of time contributes to a sense of malaise, confusion, and lack of motivation.
As Karen Carpenter sang, “What I’ve got they used to call the blues. Nothin’ is really wrong.”
While parts of our world are reopening, much of what we considered normal will not be experienced for some time to come. Some portions of the old normal are gone, never to be part of the new normal that is emerging.
It’s interesting that the way we watch TV today compounds this challenge because we rarely associate shows with days of the week. Growing up, we knew that The Brady Bunch was on Fridays. Today shows are on whenever you have time to watch them.
My encouragement? To find normal keep a normal track of time.
We have taken to ordering out on Wednesdays, “hump day.” The funny thing is that I’ve never cared about hump day because I have had significant control over my schedule for most of my adult life. But in the midst of this pandemic we’ve discovered that having some markers throughout the week help to maintain a sense of momentum.
Here are three quick ideas to be adapted to your situation. I hope you’ll create your own responses that are effective for you.
To find normal keep a natural rhythm to each day and week.
We are going to bed later and getting going later. But we are trying to keep our weeks in rhythm by attending church each Sunday and looking to Saturdays as a day for home chores.
To find normal reflect on what you were doing one year ago and predict what normal one year from now may look like.
Place today, this week, this month within the context of your life flow.
To find normal, weather permitting, Judy and I walk in the mornings.
This is a way that we can exercise while discussing a wide range of topics from parenting to planning. This allows us to get the day off on the right foot (so to speak). Don’t lose track of time. The consequences are real and they aren’t pretty. Find and maintain your rhythm. A normal. When that socially distanced neighbor asks, “Hey, do you know what time it is?” you can smile and respond, “As a matter of fact, I do.”
Dr. Stephen Julian is President of Julian Consulting, a firm specializing in team health, effective communication, and leadership development. He has worked with leaders and their teams for nearly 30 years in a variety of settings – including Africa, South and Central America.
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