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The New Normal

Looking back at my last two blogs, both written before ‘lockdown’, this one feels like Number Three in the Trilogy! We watch daily and hopefully the ‘levelling out’ of the graph showing the sad mortality statistics created by this nasty C19 virus. We also watch, aghast, at the onward and upward trajectory of the US graphs. The experts tell us what most of us already know – this virus is here to stay. What we have to find out is how life will return to normal. Or, is it in fact that life will find a ‘new normal’?

Social and family life will adapt, with extra care in hygiene and behaviour, and within the family unit there should be some assurance that control is within their own ‘hands’ (forgive the pun)… and that either natural immunity or an eventual vaccine will add to their protection. It has happened before; it is happening now. It will just take a little time, because we are in the frontline of something brand new to our world. Older people may need to be more careful or make more of a change in their lifestyle. Haven’t we been so lucky for many years to have had the freedom and the facilities to lead such open and varied lives? – travelling where we want and when we want, buying what we want - in short able to do whatever we want in what we regard as our free society? We never envisaged it might be at risk or could end – other than by conflict or revolution or ‘extra-terrestrial’ invasion. Well, it may now have happened, and virtually overnight. Our norm is norm no longer.

Not everything will necessarily alter, of course – business practices will evolve; some will stay similar, whilst others will disappear, replaced by something completely new. This article will not attempt to identify what methods will become extinct or what innovations will come to the fore, but maybe in the process there will also be change in the ‘value’ put on some business enterprises. Value may no longer always be measured in terms of ‘money’ – even though we all have, for better or worse, come to express our lives in terms of the money we have available to spend. Is it time for the figures to be ‘rebalanced’? For years, costs and profits seem to have just spiralled. Perhaps this was always unsustainable, and we need to start again. Some will say, the fate, or is it destiny, of the planet must not be ignored. With the empty streets and only small numbers of people able to go outside, science fiction has shown its face across the world. Is this therefore another step towards the future that previously only inventive authors or film producers could anticipate? Or, is it just a ‘blip’, and one way or another we will revert to what we are used to, and quickly forget the grim statistics that the year of 2020 will record? Hindsight (mentioned in a previous blog) will tell us. But we mustn’t just wait for it – there is so much to do; so many new opportunities; so many points of view. In some as-yet-unknown future, the norm will be different, yet, what then is different, will - to its contemporaries - feel the same as it ever was. What would be reassuring, is if humanity as a whole recognises the ‘new norm’, and we learn to value and treat the world in a more compassionate way. Our record is not too convincing on that score over the centuries, but who knows, with a new wave of optimism and positivity, maybe, just maybe, C19 will help us to better times.

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