During the last few weeks, I’ve heard the term “New Normal” floated around quite a bit, both in the media and through everyday conversations online and on the phone with friends and family. I feel it is perhaps the most important question that we are currently faced with and warrants some deep reflection.
It is clear that many things will never be the same, but the rhetoric from our leaders to get things back to “normal,” seems as though they are missing something. I can’t help but feel that people want things to be different coming out of this crisis. They want to be spending more time with their families, in nature, breathing and living rather than slaving for a few moments on the weekend.
As we come out of this how will you change? What will you change, if anything? Have you already changed? Have you made clear decisions on what you want to be different? Maybe you have, maybe you haven’t. Perhaps like myself you’ve taken the opportunity to make the most of your garden to grow some fresh produce. Perhaps you’re walking more, learning more. Whatever it is there is a shift happening. There is an opportunity.
For some, things won’t have changed much at all. Those retail and health service workers, the emergency workers, truck drivers, they have gone about their jobs as normal. For other’s like teachers, office workers our judiciary, hospitality amongst others, things have changed dramatically.
But what if?
I recently came across an ABC article on Australia’s preparedness for a crisis like the one we have been facing and worse. It shares some hard truths. What if things had been just slightly worse? What if this Pandemic had stopped shipping and trade. The ramifications are pretty scary and toilet paper would have been the least of our worries. During my time as a Service Station operator, I learnt about Australia’s reliance on imported fuel. For some reason, I just thought that we had the capacity to refine our own. We used to. That’s no longer the case, and the nation only has a two-month stockpile. Add this to our reliance on pharmaceuticals made off-shore, chemicals to keep our water supply clean – also imported, and don’t forget spare parts for our energy generation. It can all become a bit overwhelming. As always I lean on the side of optimism. I think it is a great opportunity to come together as a community to see how well we have pulled together and to be prepared for a time that may or may not come when things will potentially be harder than they are at present.
In the event of a Criss where shipping is cut, how well will you cope? How well are you connected within your community? With your neighbours? What if you couldn’t rely on your car, the supermarket, the water supply?
My new normal is just doing more. More for my fellow man, I already look after my mum but I want to do more I feel empowered doing more, growing more than I need in the garden, just as my father used to. Sending me with bags of excess veggies to the neighbours. I want to do more of that. As an actor and writer telling stories that need to be told, that encourage connection and teach us to be more empathetic. More of that. To not forget those who have held our society together during these times. More of that. To say hello more often to strangers on the street. To connect. More of that.
Contents of this post form part of the upcoming book One Day I Will Tell The Truth.