A New Norm

The beautiful spring flowers blooming right by my front porch. Spring is here in North Georgia.

As I reread my previous blog, it feels as if it were so long ago. In reality, it was only seven days ago. Things are changing by the hour. The virus is spreading and so is fear. I find myself gravitating toward the news, and then recoiling from it as if I had touched a hot iron. While it is informative to hear where we are as a country, as a global people, it also is perhaps the most disturbing reality I’ve ever experienced. With no foreseeable end in sight – it almost feels as if our efforts of containment are too little too late. 

Anxiety and uncertainty are more prominent in this new norm than ever before. This virus has touched every facet of our lives. Stores are shutting down, schools are closed. Each day the government imposes new restrictions. Social distancing is defined as staying six feet from others only if you must gather.  Some states are on lockdowns. Church services are available online only. 

As life slows in most areas, I am grateful for social media. By connecting with friends and family via technology, I am able to stay in the right frame of mind. Apps such as Marco Polo serve as a way to connect with those I love. Google Meets is my new meeting format with my fellow educators. 

Those unorganized areas of my home that I’ve ignored are now receiving my undivided attention: yesterday, it was that cabinet in the kitchen, today I have my eye on one of my linen closets upstairs. The point is – as my world has become smaller, my perspective is changing.

This past Wednesday was my daughter’s 12th birthday. And what a wonderful birthday we had for her! The decorations were over the top. My parents and sister went out of their way to drop gifts off on the porch, so that she would have them on her special day. And she was so appreciative. We carefully distanced ourselves as much as possible from the news, which ensured her birthday was carefree. 

Where we stand now – no school until April 13th. Many states are already closing their doors through the end of the year. Any educational institution that can is switching to online learning. Any that can’t are trying to. 

Each morning, I hear the birds singing, I spend a little more time on my yoga mat,  I exercise when I want instead of crammed in the early morning or late night. I laugh a little louder with my children. I hug my husband a little longer. I play with my dog because I enjoy it and not because I feel like I should. 

When this is behind us, what will I remember? That I was afraid? That I was unsure? That I felt alone in a way I have never felt before? Or will I remember the moments of peace? The moments of great certainty – not in what will happen but simply in the moment of what is. If this is the last birthday I have with my child, did I do all I could to make sure she knows how cherished, loved and amazing she is just because she is my daughter? 

What will my story be? I hope one of courage. I hope I can remain concerned about how to bring hope to those around me instead of how to preserve just my life. I hope I can continue to serve others to the best of my ability. Within this new norm, I will do my best to treat each day with a little more care, a little more savor, a little more appreciation, a little more conservation and determination. 

Published by Elizabeth Ihle

Proud mom. Grateful educator. Adventure seeker. Insatiable reader. Lifelong learner. elizabethihle.com

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