The “Stay at Home” orders are soon coming to an end. In North Carolina, Governor Cooper has allowed the first phase of a three-phase plan to “re-open the state”. Business are opening their doors to clients again. There are more and more people in the stores and out and about. Traffic is picking up once again. It appears we are slowly re-emerging from a very unique and unprecedented time. The need to be safe at home is coming to an end according to the powers that be.
Everywhere seems to be this pervasive sentiment of finally being able to “get back”.
Get back to normal…
Get back to work…
Get back to school…
Get back to how it was …
Get back to life…
Get back, get back, get back…
The truth is we can never go back. We can only go forward.
Before this pandemic, we all had this specific shape of our lives that we cast. We created a mold that our lives would fit into. Inside this mold contained our patterns, our practices, our beliefs, our rituals, our priorities, our values, and what we are comfortable and accustomed to. We all had a nice little cozy mold we created and could snuggly fit into. Well, maybe for some, the mold that we created wasn’t so cozy and maybe we really didn’t fit into it snuggly. For some, it was downright uncomfortable and we repeatedly had to bend and contort our body and mind into the shape we had defined for our lives. But either way, the mold me made was our mold and we were familiar with it.
Then along came COVID-19 and that mold of our lives was busted up for everyone. Everything shifted quickly. Suddenly we were forced live out of that very familiar mold we wrapped ourselves in. Suddenly, we are now working from home, or working less, or not working at all. You just became a homeschool teacher. Your partner is always around…always. Your gym is closed. All your travel plans are trashed. The grocery store looks like a hurricane is coming. You miss your friends and family. Any day you find toilet paper for sale is a special day. All patterns and any sense of “normalcy” are out the window. The mold we cast longer works for such unprecedented times. We were scooped up and dumped out of the structure of our lives we were so well acquainted with.
Many seemed to carefully place this empty and no longer useful mold we created off to the side in a safe space. Some seem to keep their mold within arm’s reach, keeping an eye on it, and safeguarding this precious and fragile design of what was. Many are protecting their mold to make sure it will be there for them when everything gets “back to normal”. Many are eagerly counting down the days until they can effortlessly slip right back into the familiar mold once again like nothing ever happened.
Now, as we start to emerge from our homes and we “re-open the state”, it seems we are all so quick to get back to how it was. We seem very eager to jump right back into that exact same shape and mold that our life used to have. Yes, maybe this mold had some areas that were uncomfortable and perhaps even painful, but at least we are familiar with it. So what if that mold of my of life forced me to bend in a way that made me uncomfortable, I’m still eager to get back to it because it is what I am used to. It is what I know. It is what is familiar. “Familiar” is comfortable even when it is painful. What we know is easy. We are ready to get back to that mold because it is the way it was. As this pandemic dissipates (we all hope), it’s time to get back to the way it was.
The mold of my life has been cast. Time to crawl right back into it.
Don’t be seduced by familiarity.
That which is familiar, that which is known, that which we are used to- is a powerful and persuasive energy which calls to us. There are parts of our psyche that are always seeking comfort. The familiar and the known, even if painful, hosts a greater comfort level compared to that which is unknown.
Many of us are ready to jump right back into the mold of our life we cast before this pandemic because it is what we know. Despite how well this mold served us… and didn’t serve us, this mold is what we are familiar with and comfortable with.
That’s fine. Go right back to it---if that is what you truly desire, or you are not ready for something different.
If there is a part of you that desired your life to be different, now is the time! Some may choose to take that old mold of how life used to be and maybe it just needs a little modification and reshaping in certain parts. Perhaps others may need to chip out an entire section of the mold. Maybe it’s time to add a brand-new section to this shape. Perhaps it is time to acknowledge that change you have been silently desiring for years. Others may choose to take that old mold and smash to the ground like an exuberant football player spikes the ball after scoring the winning touchdown.
Just as you made one mold of your life, you can make another.
Many external factors will exert their influence on the shape of your mold. For some, the strongest factor is their work. Others, their family, partner, or kids. For many, it is their past. Yes, these and many other forces will be pushing and pulling on the shape of your mold. But there is one force that has more power than all of these other factors combined. The greatest force to influence and define exactly what this mold of your life will become…is YOU.
When designing, modifying, or creating the new mold of your life, you must roll up your sleeves and get your hands dirty. You must shape the mold of your life into what it is you desire. The end result will be only what you make it… or allow it to become. You have the power, but you must claim it and you must exert it. You must put it into action. This power has always been there, and it will always be there. The pandemic has offered us a healthy pause in the very busy and very full “norm” of our lives.
We are often so occupied working in our lives that we don’t take the time to take a step back and devote time to working on our lives. We go-go-go! Yet, often don’t ask, “Do I even want to go-go-go?”.
As we move forward, let’s not be so quick to jump back into the way things were.
The mold of your life before the pandemic is simply how you were living life before the pandemic. What you did before does not dictate what you do now or what you do in the future.
As we move forward, some things should remain back in the past.
Onward we go.