Let's Not Go Back To "Normal"
(Day #67 of blogging)
Adversity has the effect of eliciting talents, which in prosperous circumstances would have lain dormant. - Horace
In the midst of the global COVID-19 pandemic, there has been the expected cry of a return to "normal."
"Normal" is the time before the pandemic struck, where everything seemed to be much better than it is now.
It's understandable for anyone in our country to pine for yesterday. The stress and pain of the present make anyone look longly towards the past. But this crisis shows that yesterday wasn't as rosy as we thought.
Take for example the following picture and headline:
Our inability as a country to prepare for the disaster the coronavirus has brought to shows that "normal" wasn't working, let alone be great.
Do we really want to return back to a "normal" where we were one crisis away from everything unfolding?
This crisis has exposed the entrenched flaws of the status quo. I don't want to be dismissive here, as it's reasonable to be afraid of the future based on the present.
Yet, if we only imagine returning back to "normal" as the solution, we rob ourselves of the chance to build a better future.
That's right. There's still a better future to be collectively (however impossible it may seem) and individually built.
I'm focused on creating a better individual future for myself. (I am very fortunate to have continued access to food, shelter, clothing, and the other necessities of life in a time like this. It makes me deeply sad others do not when they need them most.) This isn't to say that a collective future isn't a priority (when it comes to matters of a society, it absolutely is), it's a matter of what I can control over right now. I have control over my thoughts and actions, but not others (and rightfully so). Therefore, the only realistic option is to focus on me.
(I've started to arrive at the conclusion that the best way to change the world is to change yourself for the better. More on this in a future blog post.)
Building this better future requires understanding the failures of the present. The failure of "normal" as it is now and before the coronavirus spread to America. If I don't understand what did not work now and before, how can I reasonably expect to craft a better life? I'll be bound to making the same mistakes as before.
That's why I have been taking my time in understanding exactly what's gone wrong in our present times. Having that understanding will not only help me focus on what to do but also what NOT to do as well.
The pandemic has yielded a valuable opportunity to examine the present as it is, without our normal biases clouding our vision.
I'm not wasting this chance to look at things as they are and with open eyes and work towards a better tomorrow for myself.
I hope you don't either.