Look for the normal

Look for the normal

Last week I wrote about not being good with Plan B. That’s true. I’m not. But here’s what I AM good at doing: finding silver linings. Optimism is a gift I was given at birth. It’s not something I work on, it’s not something I think about, it’s not really something I choose. My natural inclination is to see the positive and I’ll tell you, that’s come in handy since March.

I’m optimistic but I’m not crazy.

That’s not to say I haven’t had moments where I want to lose it. I have. I’ve got fear, anxiety, worry and all of the above about what we’re currently living through. I’m scared to get the virus, I’m scared to give the virus to someone without knowing it, I’m scared we are literally never going to get out of this mess. I don’t know when I can hang out with my parents again or visit my in-laws. I’m tired of hearing the words “unprecedented” and “the new normal.”

What I have been able to do through all of this, is find theĀ actual normal and let it shine through. For me, that normal is summer. We are a family who sends our kids to camp. My kids have always gone to the camp at which I grew up going to, as did my mother, my brother, and most of my cousins. For us, camp is a part of life. When quarantine life began back in March, I thought, I can do this, we can survive this, as long as there is camp. People thought me naive and that I should face the music as there was no way summer camp was happening. Low and behold, our camp was able to pull it off and my son has now returned from four weeks at camp. How they pulled it off was a case study in research, thoughtfulness, strict rules and yes, probably a little bit of luck.

My son was lucky enough to feel like a normal kid for four weeks this summer. Was it completely normal? Well, no. There were things about camp that certainly made it feel different. But he got to hang with his friends, jump in the lake, participate in color war and just be a kid – off his screen, away from the news, without any anxiety about the future or obligations. So for me, as his mom… I felt normal because he felt normal.

Why can’t we all get a break from all of this?

While we can’t all take four weeks and live off the grid like my son got to do, what we can do is look for these bitesize pieces of normalcy in the midst of the world we’re currently in. When I have a great client meeting, even if by zoom, I call that a win. When we pick up dinner from a favorite restaurant and enjoy it, it’s a win.

This morning, I had a a fantastic client meeting with a client and learned she is pregnant. If that’s not a sign of optimism we all need, I don’t know what is.

As we all prepare for the weirdest start to school in our history, let’s focus on the few pieces of normalcy we can find. Let’s find the good in all of this. From where I sit, we have no other choice.

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