On March 1, 2020, I was enjoying my daily routine. Ten days later, a whole new world started, and most folks had no idea that anything had changed. Halfway through April, I realized that “normal” no longer exists. We have no idea what the new normal will be. It might include wearing masks.
Currently, my normal looks like this:
- I sleep until about 7:00–7:30 a.m. Before this pandemic, if I wasn’t up by 6:00 a.m., Annie worried I might be dead.
- I read until 11:00–11:30 p.m. because I can sleep in as long as I want.
- I wake up groggy, like I was drugged. Before COVID-19, I jumped out of bed and was sitting at my desk within fifteen minutes with a full cup of coffee and no grogginess.
- My daily schedule consists of waking up, doing whatever, and going to bed. In the past, my days were very full even though I am retired.
- When I get out of bed, I put on slippers (furry but still cold), sweatpants, and a light jacket. By 10:00 a.m., I change into workout clothes, and at 10:00 p.m., I put on pajamas (skivvies and a T-shirt).
- I find I tend to talk on the phone longer and write longer emails.
- I’m telling more jokes than ever because I think we need laughter to overcome the gloom and doom we hear all day long. I especially like this one: Three friends were talking, and one guy asked, “When you’re in your casket, and your friends and family are celebrating your life, what do you want them to say?” Art answered, “I want them to share what a wonderful husband, father, and friend I was, as well as a great leader.” Eugene then said, “I want my family, former students, and friends to say what a wonderful teacher I was, that I was a true servant of God, and that I made a huge difference in people’s lives.” Bil nodded, thought for a minute, and slowly said, “I want the congregation to look at the casket, and then I want someone to shout, ‘Look, Bil’s moving.’”
- I have worked since I was six years old—my first job was selling newspapers for a penny outside the post office. This is the first and probably only time in my life that I have nothing I have to do—all day long!
- I have lots of spare time, so I overthink things. I never had time to do that before.
- I read long articles in the newspaper instead of skimming them like I did in the past.
- Annie and I spend at least an hour power walking every day. We share stories about our childhood, our college days, and all the wonderful and sometimes not-so-wonderful experiences we shared in our sixty years together. Annie also grades my jokes by her laugh meter. She liked the one I shared above.
- We watch more television than ever before and wonder why some of it even exists.
- In February, my motto was “Don’t hang around with anyone negative.” My new motto is “Don’t hang around with any one positive.”
What counts as normal in your new world?