Our New Normal

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Let’s face it, nothing’s really normal, but most of us are adapting for now. As we finish up our second week of quarantine, my family and I are figuring out how to get work, school, and chores handled. We have a system for the grocery delivery, we’ve cleaned every closet and cupboard, and we’re able to get outside every day. All in all, we’re hanging in there.

On a personal level, I’m mostly managing the anxiety that comes along with this much uncertainty. Some nights I don’t sleep well, but some I do. Some days I can barely get off the couch, but other days I manically clean, write, walk the dog, and cook up a storm. I’ve given myself permission to feel whatever I do in the moment and be okay with it. This is a different time for all of us. Here are my thoughts as week two winds down.

I’ve identified my difficult moments.

My anxiety hits me at about three in the morning. I don’t have trouble falling asleep, but sometimes when I open my eyes, my head spins. That’s not normal for me. Even though my kids are older, I’ve still been waking up in the middle of the night for years. Usually, I can go back to sleep. Not so much these days. But, instead of worrying that I’ll be a zombie the next day, I remind myself that I can sleep later. I can adjust my now very flexible schedule. I keep a book next to my bed, and now I’ll read for a little while to help my mind settle. Sometimes I’ll get up and write. Mostly, I try not to worry about the fact that I’m worrying.

That stuff I learned on my yoga mat is important.

So much of this situation is truly out of our control. We don’t know how long we’ll need to quarantine. We don’t know how our jobs, businesses, or paychecks will fare. We don’t know if we’ll get sick. It’s a lot of not knowing. I’ve practiced yoga for over a decade, and many of the lessons I’ve learned on the mat are more relevant now than ever. There is freedom in recognizing that this moment is all we are guaranteed. There can be great joy in small, simple moments. I can begin each day with gratitude.

What about the writing, though?

Yeah, so about the writing… I’ve decided to let go of all the structure I had in place for myself around my work. I’m not trying to hit a daily word count, and I’m not forcing myself to work through difficult scenes. I’m not sitting at my usual spot, and I’m not planning my writing time ahead. Essentially, I’ve let go of my rules. I’m purely writing for the love of it, and only when it feels like a welcome respite to do so. For me, that’s meant writing the scenes I’m excited about, even if they’re out of order. It’s meant writing in the middle of the night if I can’t sleep. It’s meant that this book of mine is a patchwork right now, with lots of high intensity, emotional, and exciting moments. I may have to do more editing in the end, but if this method keeps me going through this madness, I’ll take it.  

We are all trying to discover some kind of new, temporary, normal, and it will look different for each of us. Let’s remember to be gentle with ourselves and with each other as we navigate the unprecedented days ahead.

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About Author

Tabitha Lord is the award-winning author of the HORIZON series. She lives in Rhode Island with her husband, four kids, two spoiled cats, and lovable black lab.

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