There are years or even decades that go by when life feels normal. Everything is routine. There are ups and downs. Fun distractions and occasional annoyances. But as the months and years pass, nothing in particular stands out.
Then there are days or weeks where life feels completely surreal. Normal habits and routines get disrupted. Unexpected events emerge and hang like a dark cloud over everyday life. Time slows down. Perception distorts.
And that is how it's been in 2020. Reality now feels like we are living in a David Lynch movie. Nothing is quite as it seems. Absurdity piles up so high and you don’t know whether to laugh or cringe.
As life plunged into surreality in the spring, I turned to meditation as a coping mechanism. Making time for that ten minutes a day provides me a brief respite. I can stop pining for the relative normalcy of the past. Worries about the uncertain future fade away. I just focus on the present moment. This gives me some ability to forget.
At some point, life will get back to normal. It won’t happen in an instant. There is no silver bullet. Not the election. Not the introduction of a vaccine. Not the all-clear to go back to work and school. The shift will be gradual. Over time, everyday life will start to feel more like it did before. Or we'll settle into the “new normal” everyone seems to agree is coming. Whatever that means. When that finally happens, we’ll be able to go about our lives without constantly stopping to marvel at the ever-present weirdness.
That will be a comforting moment for many of us. But it also shines a light on how often we go about living with blinders on. Because existence is incredibly weird, all of the time. We’re just conditioned to ignore the usual abnormalities.
Perhaps living through this period will make us all more appreciative of less disruptive times. And remind us not to take things for granted.
I tend to think we'll quickly forget as well fall back into our usual habits and routines. Of course we'll look back and recall the absurdity as we lived through it. But it will feel like a distant dream sequence.
Until the next disruption comes.
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