New New New

It’ll come as little surprise to anyone who’s been paying attention to… all of this that concentration has been in shockingly short supply in 2020, with seemingly every single month apparently running down the international supply that little bit more. The simple act of just getting through the day when so much is constantly happening all the time, without becoming distracted by 20 different things at any given moment, feels like an achievement in and of itself, with the end result being that every single day feels exhausting on a level that we’d previously only managed to achieve in entire weeks in the olden days.

There was a point the other day where I wondered if that was just me, and if it was more to do with my increasing age — my half century is on the horizon now, shockingly — than anything else. Maybe everyone felt like this at 46, I wondered half-heartedly, before checking the news and discovering three separate things that would have made jaws drop just five years ago, all happening at the same time and snapping me back to reality.

It strikes me that, at least twice within the last four years, there’s been a mass movement of people reassuring each other that we’re living in a New Normal that was particularly stressful — unhealthily so, in fact — and that we should be kinder to ourselves and those around us if we happen to fall short on stated goals. And, of course, the second time — when COVID hit, and we all went into a lockdown that’s still happening, despite what some might believe — came before the end of the first, meaning that we’re just living in New Normal on top of New Normal. Does that mean it’s a third New Normal, or a New Normal Squared? I’ve lost track.

All of these thoughts come up, of course, on a day when it feels as if everyone’s struggling a little bit harder than they expected to get basic tasks done, myself included. I’ve started to wonder, is there a way to do this differently?

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