In March of 2020, we entered into a series of lockdowns, guidelines, and preventative measures designed to stem and lower the impact of the COVID-19 virus. It has been a trying time between maintaining our daily routine and the sacrifices and adjustments we needed to do in the face of the rollercoaster of cases and deaths because of this virus.
However, we are preparing to see this pandemic disappear in our rearview mirrors. Mask guidelines are lifting in some cases, while other parts of the world are dealing with another wave of the virus.
Our souls have gone through our own rollercoaster. We exhibited every emotion possible – too many to list. We also seen some changes and transitions in our world – some good, some bad. That depends on your own worldview, I suppose.
In the meantime, we are seeing the effects of this pandemic in this business, while some relief is underway. From microchip shortages to possible compensation and back-up plans, we might just get back to where we were before we shut down our society. At least, that’s what everyone hope would happen.
Now, we are closer to a form of normality that we thought would happen sooner than later.
It took some time, but the vaccination rate in this country helped fuel some lifting of guidelines on several fronts. At the Twin Cities Auto Show, we saw masks coming off. We saw some freedom of movement. We saw people embracing the next normal.
The next normal?
Consider about a year ago that we were living in a “new normal.” A normal that sent us back home – working or otherwise. A new normal that meant educating our children at home, finding new ways to pass the time, and adapting to new routines around the house and in our communities.
That new normal also caused some stress upon this globe. A year ago, George Floyd was killed by the knee of a Minneapolis police officer. It exposed an old normal that dated back four centuries on how colonial forces from Europe exploited the African continent for slave labor. Regardless of your own political, social, and worldview – that is a historic fact.
The new normal perpetuated a societal rift between those who want to perpetuate a narrative that excluded some for the sake of others. A narrative that continues today with every home, farm, and business that still flies the flag of its leader after said leader was elected out of office.
The next normal should be different than the previous normal. It would allow us to freely travel without worry of the virus that kept us locked down and under guidelines for over a year. The next normal would enable us to congregate in the places that are homes away from our own homes.
There is more to the next normal. Some of these are just pipe dreams at the moment. After all, we have dreams, right?
What are my dreams in the next normal? For one, I am already seeing it unfold. V&R’s site traffic numbers continue to climb. You are still reading the work that has been ten-plus years in the making. It gets better as the site evolves. This is done because you demand it.
Another dream is to get back on the road and do some more traveling. To get back on a plane or train without a mask on. To see places I still have not seen. To connect with social media friends I have never met. To see my family and old friends again.
Yet, I fear that I may never fulfill the dreams of the next normal.
It would not be immediate that I would see a decline in my health. Yet, the challenges I had over the past several years have taken its toll.
I’m OK. I’m still pushing. However, I’ve been feeling some affects from years of this pushing hard to gain my goals and dreams.
Let me assure you again that I’m still here. I intend on fulfilling a lot of my goals professionally in this business.
My next normal will definitely not be your next normal. Your next normal should be bright and fulfilling. Don’t let mine ruin yours.
Maybe I am overly concerned about what my next normal will look like. After all, there’s still so much to see and do that are worth telling their stories. That will never cease to happen. Or, at least let’s hope so!
All photos by Randy Stern