If this is the new normal then what the hell’s next?

If this is the new normal then what the hell’s next?

We have had the last 5 months of solitude (or lack thereof if you have kids), to really reflect on how we were living. Most of us went through the roller coaster of Netflix binging, finding new recipes to try, Zooming happy hours to GET ME OUT OF HERE- I CAN’T DO THIS, back to ‘we got this’ and then some possible intermittent sobbing in the corner. Talk about an exhausting wheel of emotions on a weekly basis. But really the truth is, we learned a hell of a lot about ourselves in a very short time and if this is the new normal then how the hell do we move forward?

Take Stock of the Experience

Once we take stock of the experience we can then break down how we want to move forward. None of us were excluded from this experience and some had it worse than others and some really soared. Take stock of your experience. Did you soar? Great, how? What went really well? Did it suck a major egg? What royally sucked? Maybe it was just ok. Connect to the mundane parts too.

My experience. The Boudewyns family soared! Not that many people want to hear it, but we really did enjoy it. We tend to be homebodies naturally but this time was a lot different. The girls were not running to 15 activities, staying up too late at sleepovers & willing to put their phones down for a new activity. That gave us some pretty sweet quality family time with everyone being rested, engaged, and trying new things. Tatum learned how to use the charcoal grille, she can whip up a pretty mean slider :). Reese realized how important good quality sleep affects your attitude & how you perceive things. The best news of all, we finished construction on the house!! For anyone that knows my story, it’s been 7 years in the making and I can finally say there is NO MORE construction to be had. Now it was not all rainbows & butterflies (man, kids are nosey when they are bored), we just chose to focus on flexibility. Each time someone was on the edge of going down the rabbit hole we simply just asked, “how can you be flexible right now?” It didn’t solve every problem but it sure helped lessen the chaos. 

Take ownership

At some point, we all showed a side of us that probably wasn’t super pretty, and I don’t mean greasy hair paired with 4-day old yogas with Cheeto stains. How did you show up? Did you like who you were during this time? Is there something you would have liked to have done differently? Strip down the shock & chaos energy of the experience, just focus on the experience itself. Not in a judgemental way or a coulda-woulda-shoulda way, just take ownership of how you played in the energy.

My experience. I was my BIGGEST & WORST critic. I know we are all hard on ourselves for things but the man did that negative self-talk go into overdrive. The crazy thing is I have worked from home for the last 5 years so why was this so damn different? It took me a while to put a finger on it, I had an audience this time. I was constantly justifying what I was looking at, who I was talking to, or why I was still in my jammies. That turned into some pretty big self-sabotage awfully quick. I started picking at everything I was doing and clearly not doing. The domino effect here went from lazy to worthless in a matter of days. Yuck.

What superpowers showed up that you didn’t know existed?

None is not an answer because it isn’t true and you know it. When we are put in a position that is out of our control/comfort zone we connect to resources we didn’t know we had or possibly had to dust off some really, really dormant ones. Maybe you really surprised yourself and tapped into a new way of being & doing that now you can’t live without. Extra points if you showered daily.

My experience. My superpowers are control & flexibility. Weird right? How can I be flexible & have control at the same time? I became really good at being flexible to what was showing up each day & being ok with the fact I was not in charge. I had zero control of what was going to show up each day BUT I could control how I wanted to feel. I really like to have a to-do list, it makes me feel productive, needed & accomplished. It’s been my way of keeping the negative self talk to the wayside all these years. Some days that just wasn’t possible so I made it a priority to decide how I wanted to feel each day. Most of us equate productivity to our self worth so if I wasn’t producing anything then I was worthless. Now I know that isn’t true deep down but on the surface, it felt like a neon light flashing in my face. Once I started each day with a “maybe going to not happen list” the BS story stopped and allowed me to be flexible & controlled in how I approached each day.

What do you want to take with you?

Just because it happened, you saw it with your own eyes & felt it in your bones, doesn’t mean we have to keep dragging it around. So let’s say you are at the store trying on a pair of jeans & they don’t fit, what do you do with the jeans? You leave them there. You don’t throw them in your cart and pay for a pair of jeans that don’t fit- you leave them there. The same rules apply here. Use this as an opportunity to take hold of the great things that showed up that fit you moving forward. Even the parts you didn’t like hold a hell of a lot of information, just flip the coin. You hated being stuck in the house on Zoom really means you crave getting out & being seen, you need face to face connections. Cooking every night is a time-consuming nightmare really means you enjoy spending your time & energy on other things that fill you up.

My experience. I am taking with me that I need my own space consistently. As selfish as it sounds I don’t care and I am owning it. If the family is the new co-worker then the same rules need to apply. I strongly dislike everyone in my business 24/7 & being in charge around the clock. It caused me to be short with my family, easy to disconnect when it was family time & physically tired for the fun things. It’s almost like it kicked up some resentment too. This experience really showed me that I need my own private, downtime during the day where I am not Mom and I am not in charge of making decisions outside myself. By setting up some “business hours” with the girls during the day it allowed me to be in the space where I thrived & empowered them to make some decisions on their own. 

Moving forwardish. I don’t know what these last few months of 2020 will bring, I do know that you were given an amazing lesson in who you are. As with everything that happens in our lives there is always an opportunity to do something with that information. As William S. Burroughs so wonderfully said, “When you stop growing you start dying.” Prune those leaves that have served their purpose, it’s time to allow the roots to grow deeper & in new directions.

Julie Boudewyns
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