As I sit to write this post, Independence Day beckons. News stories about picnics, gatherings, and fireworks abound. How comfortable do we feel moving among a crowd when we know so little about the health and vaccination history of the people crowding around us? I confess to a bit of trepidation, yet I have already stepped out, joining other writers for an event in Columbus June 24. Almost everyone removed their masks, and the atmosphere was one of celebration and thanksgiving. We the people were back together, filled with hope and the promise of that return to normalcy everyone continues to mention.

But what is normal? As a writer, I have spent the past eighteen months in my definition of  ‘normal,’ sitting at the computer creating new stories and revising old ones. Not so very different from the way I conducted my day during pre-pandemic times. However, in the midst of the enforced isolation, I believe forged a ‘new normal,’ one which will serve going forward as a blueprint for my own productivity. I have contemplated the busyness of my life before and made decisions regarding which activities I can relinquish, which ones I must retain. I have practiced saying no in the cyberverse so that I could deliver that decisive word in the real world. It isn’t an easy thing to give up established patterns of volunteer work, meetings, conferences, although the extended isolation provided the necessary space to evaluate what really matters at this stage of my life. I have scaled down, cut back, pared my activities to those which most enrich me.

Every moment reduces to a choice. How do I allow my creative self the space to explore, expand, and grow? Whatever challenges the past year and a half have presented, the months have also given us time to contemplate our strengths and weaknesses, to weigh our plans and goals against the unexpected, to change the trajectory of our path for greater personal and collective growth.

As we walk, read, garden, write, travel, sing our way through July, the earth turns ever back to shorter days and longer nights. I think my pursuits will follow their own journey through time, spending more of it on what matters most to me and less on what the outside world demands.

What do you see as your ‘normal’? I’m interested in the changes you have made. Leave a message…:)