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Are You Waiting for “the New Normal”?

August 15th, 2020 by Michael Dyet

Hmmm, what if we opted out of waiting and just put one foot in front of the other?

For many years earlier in my life, around this time in August, my mind would respond to preprogramming and start preparing for a new cycle. Nineteen years framed by the school year – grade school, secondary school, college and university – imprinted on my psyche. It was a comforting rhythm aided by the fact that I am an academic at heart.

The preprogramming faded as the years passed, but never quite let go. September remained at some level as the official turning of the calendar – New Year’s Day and all the hoopla associated with it notwithstanding. September 1st was the reboot date, to put it in modern terms.

Until now. 2020 is different. That, of course, is an understatement given how the world has been turned upside down since COVID-19 arrived. In a way, it is like time has been standing still. So much of our lives put on hold that the passage of time feels interrupted.

It is entirely an illusion – a trick of the mind. Time is marching on. The seasons are unfolding as they always do. Birds are beginning to feel that ancient and instinctive imperative to fatten up and began the long trek south to wintering grounds. We age day by day even as we do our utmost to stave off becoming a senior citizen.

So what is it really that has stopped?

Someone pushed the pause button on the universal remote that regulates life across the globe. We are collectively holding our breath, literally and figuratively, in an artificially induced waiting state. Waiting for the danger to pass so we can resume living, or stop worrying or start being optimistic again.

The self-proclaimed experts tell us things are never going to be the same. That we have to prepare for the new normal. Except that no one really knows what the new normal will look like.

Oh, lots of experts believe they do know and are making a name for themselves mapping out what will happen and how we should prepare for it. But their prognostications are educated guesses at best and often coloured by their own preferences and biases.

And so we wait, because it seems that is all we can do. Follow the rules, stay the course and try to be patient. Taking baby steps forward as we move into another phase of reopening. Hoping that the predicted second wave does not come and slam the door again.

But what are we really waiting for? For permission, it would seem, once again literally and figuratively. But many are uncertain and uncomfortable about what form that permission will take in the new normal. We sense that it could have new parameters around it that fence us in, and restrict our autonomy, which none of us want.

What are we waiting for? We are waiting for the other shoe to drop. But every moment we wait, holding our breath in fear, is a lost moment we cannot get back. We have to play by the rules, albeit reluctantly, but that does not mean we cannot go on living.

So breathe, let go out fear, take that first step, and keep putting one foot in front of the other.

~ Now Available Online from Amazon, Chapters Indigo or Barnes & Noble: Hunting Muskie, Rites of Passage – Stories by Michael Robert Dyet

~ Michael Robert Dyet is also the author of Until the Deep Water Stills – An Internet-enhanced Novel which was a double winner in the Reader Views Literary Awards 2009. Visit Michael’s website at or the novel online companion at

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