It was nice knowing you. Over the past couple of decades of working in what you provided, I learned to adapt, survive and thrive. I navigated your economy and society and learned that the most effective technique was to focus solely on whatever served my greatest personal interest. Self-mastery was the name of your game — degrees, titles, positions, self-promotion, comfort, luxury, and consumerism.
The truth is, things haven’t been going so well between us over the past few years. We were growing apart. It wasn’t you, it was me. My interests have been changing and evolving and what I was searching for was never a part of the foundation of our relationship. I realized that I am not fulfilled with running through life like a hamster on a wheel, aiming and fighting for my own pleasure and success. I have learned there are deeper truths to humanity that you just wouldn’t acknowledge. I don’t want to accuse you of delusion, but it was like hitting a wall when I realized what the truths are and what you would be open to considering.
Oddly, at the apex of my discomfort and following my realization that we couldn’t continue as we were, the world was slammed by a pandemic. No one had a blueprint of how to handle such a life-altering challenge, but all people are shifting out of necessity to survive…literally. It took a life-threatening virus to pull humanity away from the comfort of your presence. Now, I can see that the truths that were simmering are boiling over, and you seem to be fading away. You were our Normal, but you will never be again.
There were many happy times and many blessings in our relationship, Normal. I want to thank you for the purpose you fulfilled in my life, and I will never belittle the learning lessons I had to go through in order to realize what I really believed in and wanted. You are why I am who I am and why I can so clearly see the fine line between delusion and truth, and for that, you served a great purpose.
Just like any breakup, I believe I am in a state of grief. I am prepared to go through the stages and I find solace in the fact that I know this too is just a moment. I am inspired by C.S. Lewis’ “A Grief Unknown” and his honest and vulnerable look into the emotions we all experience when something or someone we have grown to depend on is pulled out from under us.
“No one ever told me that grief felt so like fear. I am not afraid, but the sensation is like being afraid. The same fluttering in the stomach, the same restlessness, the yawning. I keep on swallowing.”
I don’t know what my new “normal” will be as I move on, but I do know it won’t be exclusively mine. It will be whatever is collectively learned as humanity moves through this pandemic and beyond it. Likely, there may not be a new “normal” and we may need to be prepared to evolve and grow through and beyond foundations of economy, society, government, etcetera. Perhaps “normal” will simply be the awareness that we are connected and that we need to work together to survive. We have to be willing to experiment to find the new ways of operating in life and work. This is a rare moment in history when humanity can shift into new methods of remote work, health care, public services, and so forth. We need leadership in global decision rooms who aren’t committed to getting back to “normal” because you are no longer possible.
I can see the light in the darkness. I believe the promise that God’s plan is good. A piece of His plan must be to remove my dependence on you. One day at a time.
Today, I say goodbye, Normal.