The New, New Normal
Months ago (for those of you who have been following along), I started waking up around 5:00AM or earlier, for no apparent reason. It took a few weeks, but eventually I replaced tossing and turning & trying to get back to sleep with getting up early, going for a walk, meditating, and writing.
A couple of months later, our daughter started her freshman year of high school, at an academy 30 minutes from our home. Not able to make the 6:09AM bus, I started taking her to school. At that time, it was more productive to simply head into work early so I would bring my cold oats and hot latte with me, sit in the break room, and spe the extra time preparing for the day and writing.
Then anxiety hit. On time arrivals turned to late arrivals, missed classes, falling behind and making up assignments. Every day was a bit of an adventure as she adjusted to the realities of a new school, new classes, new friends, new expectations. This time, I found my peace during this newly discovered time called a “lunch break”, one where I would close my office door, take more than two minutes to eat a sandwich, read, and continue writing.
Eventually through diligence, patience, and love, my daughter found her groove and my wife and I alternated bringing her to school. Through the process, my wife had discovered a local coffee shop next to her school and on those days that I would bring her, I would detour there before work. My second latte of the day, the occasional scone, and some peace and quiet so I could once again write.
Over the last several weeks, my daughter’s school was, at first closed for a couple of weeks, then eventually the entire year. My wife’s emerging career in real estate was put on hold. My focus was on my family, and my team, ensuring that we could rapidly move from a traditional office environment to one working remotely. I made the mistake of rolling out of bed early some mornings, signing onto my work account and the next thing I knew, it was mid-afternoon. Me, still in my pajamas and drinking from the fire hose.
With each disruption, I’ve learned a bit more about myself, or reminded myself of what I’ve seemingly forgotten. During this last shift, I’ve learned that while I am able to react quickly and thrive on the rapid pace, I need to find some degree of routine or else I lose my rhythm. I am reminded that taking care of my health, mind and body is essential during any time, especially when a crisis hits hard. As I keep telling my team (and I need to practice what I preach), it is essential that I take time to unplug and decompress. Finally, pants are a good thing - wearing them on a regular basis reminds you that calories during a crisis DO in fact count, though I have tried to pretend otherwise. So today, back to being awake at 5:00AM, I meditated. I did a quick cardio workout with the help of my personal trainer (my wife). I made my bed, showered and got dressed, the skinny jeans a tad snug but buttoned. And while I will admit that I have already spent an hour on my work laptop, I am at the kitchen table, taking a few minutes to enjoy a homemade latte, cinnamon oatmeal, and the return to my writing.
You likely saw the title and thought, “oh, a POST COVID prediction on the new normal...” Yes, that is being worked on. But before I tackle that, I have to take care of me. Welcome back, it’s nice to see you!
(You can connect with me on LinkedIn @rhoniball. Follow me at www.honiball.me. Perhaps we will run into each other using one form of video chat or another. Or maybe someday, we will get to see each other in person. Appreciate you!)