We talk about “getting back to normal”, even though the COVID-19 pandemic is still here and doing its thing. I look around and wonder about the definition of “normal”. Always introspective, I ponder, “do we _really_ want things to be the way they were before the pandemic”? I feel like we missed some learning opportunities in 2020.

I get it, two many people are facing financial and other well being hardships because of lockdowns and the other precautions around COVID safety. But that speaks more to where our society was and what we depend on more than COVID itself. There are too many people that will simply not figure out a better approach to this societal existence. They want things the way they were before the pandemic. Full stop.

It’s never going to be that way again.

After we get through COVID-19, some other variant or similar type bug is going to come along and we’ll all be trying to figure that out. Luckily, I feel like we have a better leader in the White House to handle the next crisis like this. I fully believe we’d have still faced the challenges (opportunities?) of 2020 even if Trump did the right things (which he most certainly did not) but it wouldn’t haven’t been to the extent that we experienced.

At the New Year I tweeted, “if you thought 2020 was an awful year, you were paying attention to the lesson”, or something like that. There’s so many things we could be doing better now. Many companies are shifting their workers to full-time work at home status, but too many companies want everyone back in the office under their watchful, untrusting eye. Luckily, the company I work for discovered a huge cost savings on facility costs and a good sized increased in productivity when the teams work from the comfort of their own home. Even though around 15% of the workforce was already full-time work at home team members, there’s now a sizable chunk of folks that will never be going back to the office.

Less pollution from commutes, less dawdling for chit chat at the water bubbler.

I can’t understand why so many people are demanding to be seated shoulder to shoulder in restaurants. We’ve supported our community by ordering take-out when we can, but we actually saved a great deal of money by eating at home. It’s amazing to think of what can happen in your life when you save money by not eating out. I’m hopeful we’ll continue this trend when we move to Arizona next week.

There’s comfort in what’s known as normal, I get that, but there’s also a great deal of value in listening and learning.

I wish more folks had taken the time to do that. Because things will never be “normal” again, nor will things ever feel as “safe” as they did before.

Let’s continue to be vigilant with our masks and vaccinations. Let’s make that the new normal.