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It’s time to embrace it

When I’m sick with a fever or sore throat, I always make a promise that once I feel normal again, I won’t take feeling healthy for granted. That’s how a lot of people feel about 2020, saying, “I wish things would just go back to normal.” Well, looking forward from here on out, there is only a new normal. 

Dr. Fauci said COVID-19 will disrupt lives until the end of 2021. But coronavirus aside, there is no “going back to normal.” This has been a season of exposing unjust actions that have been happening for years, in a way that can’t be ignored. There is no going back to normal, because it is important to grow as individuals and a society, even if that means stepping into uncomfortable conversations. 

2020 has been filled with extreme outlooks. Social media has been a catalyst for policy change, but has also created a space for hate speech. Long overdue civil discourse has re-worked ideologies but also heightened racist traditions. Politics have been hashed out, bringing a rising awareness to vote but also continue to polarize communities. 

Social activist and author Cleo Wade wrote, “We are the builders who are building a world that has never been built before.” 

Building a new world is no easy feat, but goals worth fighting for are never easily obtained. Psychology Today claims that despite the struggles of this year, 2020 will be, “One of the most transformational years of our collective lives.” To transform anything means there must be change. 

However, to constantly pursue what is right in the world is mentally and physically draining. 

Stan Goldberg from Psychology Today claims that there are 10 Rules of Change. One of the main points from Goldberg’s studies states, “Being is easier than becoming.” Even if we feel stuck in our stagnant state of being, one way to combat staying comfortable is taking baby steps and making goals for yourself to follow a strategy. 

Another ideology from his research is that, “New behaviors must be protected.” This concept is based behind the fragileness of new habits — if anything disrupts them, they are more likely to be dropped. This is clear for this season of fighting for social justice, trying to exercise daily and keeping up with Zoom classwork. Goldberg claims that it is easy to forget new behaviors, so using memory aids is key. 

If 2020 does become the projected transformational year, it will be with small changes that can contribute to an overall larger shift, affecting politics, social justice, education and overall worldviews. Feeling overwhelmed by the incredible tasks ahead of us to achieve a new world? Start small. 

Social priorities are one example of small steps towards the new normal. Wearing a mask is not only for self-protection, but is an easy way of showing care towards others and protecting at-risk members of the community. Staying at home has forced many to become comfortable with alone time and exploring creative passions. Overall priorities have drastically changed, and now the friends and family in our lives have become our support system in person or over Facetime.

Here’s to the new normal!