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What is 'Normal'?

The bright spots theme continues! ...

So this week my bright spots have been varied. The weather has been drier, and now, very much colder, but we are not getting the deep snow that is covering the northern and eastern parts of the country. My photo shows two little places on the path I often walk along in the mornings with my dogs, and there was a light dusting of snow, and just enough brightness to make the shot of the stream especially pretty. The wind was bitingly sharp, however, and we were all glad to get home again, where I ate my breakfast porridge with enthusiasm!

The other bright spot of the week so far was my birthday on Sunday. I am not going to reveal my age (who would!) but I was expecting a quiet day, with a nice lunch (ordered online, and delivered in a box the day before, ready to be popped in the oven). Isn’t it amazing that so many restaurants and chains have begun to offer this option since lockdown? It can’t be the same lovely warm, sociable experience as a meal out with friends just now but it was delicious and a real treat.

Along with the lovely meal, flowers were delivered, people dropped cards through the letterbox and waved from the lane, and I had messages and calls from friends and relatives. I even had a couple of messages from old friends in France, where I lived for 9 years, and it was so good to hear from them.

Keeping in touch at the moment seems to be more important than ever - humans are social animals, after all. It is the thing that everyone says at the moment, that they miss company, and especially the family connections that mean so much. Grandparents need to be with grandchildren, and while some parents are perhaps seeing more than they might expect of their children, and certainly teenagers and early twenty-somethings should be off doing their own things, we are all experiencing connections and lack of connection in ways we could not have imagined even a year ago, before the first lockdown started.

Whatever “normal” was for each of us before this terrible disease affected the world, it has now changed our individual lives completely. We are having to deal with living in a disjointed, odd way where our choices feel shut down, and an edginess constantly hovers around any contact with other people. Everyday chores, such as shopping, carry a sense of risk - and we should be aware that each individual is having to deal with that in their own way. I am keeping a smile at the ready, which can be seen in the eyes even when we have masks over the lower half of our faces. The warmth of that momentary connection with another person might make the difference between someone feeling just a little bit better about their day, and staying closed in, remote from the rest of the world, isolated and alone. Smiles don’t cost anything, and even the act of smiling at someone can lift your own spirits as much as being the recipient of that warm expression.


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