Do you REALLY want to go back to normal?

One of the impacts of the pandemic is that it has caused me, both consciously and unconsciously, to question what is important to me and how I want to live and work. The pandemic has changed me, and it has probably changed you too.

Now that we are starting to emerge from Covid-19 and life could be getting back to normal, I find myself asking – in all honesty do I want to go back to normal? Where normal implies things going back to where they were before. Or do I want something different?

Are you the same? Are you hoping for something different? Do you really want to go back to normal?

The pandemic has changed us

The pandemic has shown us how swiftly our lives can change. We have all had to adapt and change very quickly to events that have not been within our control. We have needed to think and act differently and cope with many restrictions on our lives. We have lost things, gained things and discovered new things.

Losses to stay lost and gains to keep

Through the pandemic we will have lost things that we most definitely want to get back – social contact, hugging loved ones, being able to do things spontaneously, being free to live our lives. But I also bet that there are things that you have lost that you would very much like to stay lost.

The pandemic has also given us things that perhaps we didn’t even know we wanted, such as working from home, being closer to nature, being more connected to our local communities and perhaps even closer to our families near and far.

Discovering new things

In addition, we will have drawn upon our own internal resources and may have been surprised to discover new aspects of ourselves – new strengths, new skills and capabilities, and new qualities – that we definitely want to keep.

The challenge

The challenge now will be how to ensure the changes we want to keep and build upon actually happen in our lives. There is a risk that as society and work returns to normal, we get drawn back in and our hopes for a different life get put on hold or diminish.

Often what we want from our lives and work can be difficult to articulate as it may be a felt sense of what we want and not just practical things. It is really important to be able to connect with and talk about what you want so you can move towards your future in a positive, purposeful and confident way where you have a strong sense of yourself in the new world that is emerging. This gives you the confidence to talk about, plan and make decisions that will help you to keep and build on all that you want from your life and work. However, if you just don’t have the words, this can be easier said than done – you need another language.

Connecting to and creating your future

For clients who are trying to make sense of things, connect to their experiences and make the intangible tangible, I work with them through creative work using visual language as a way in.

One way to do this to create a board or wall of images around what you want your new life to be.

Collect images that really resonate with you. It doesn’t matter why they catch your attention just start to cut them out, print them off and put them somewhere you can see them every day. Over time you will see that they form groups and themes. For example, there may a group about work, family or home. There could be groups that just make you feel a particular way. Once you have re-arranged your images into their groups or themes, start to add words and phrases. They don’t have to make sense or be sentences. The words are what ever comes to mind. Eventually, when you start looking at what you have created you will be able to describe what you want and make your intangible felt sense of your future tangible and possible.

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