• Barb Mayfield

Better than before


A road sign stating Better Days Ahead

“I can’t wait until everything returns to normal.” Raise your hand if you’ve heard that sentiment. Or, said it. Or, thought it.


What is “normal” and why do we want to return?


“Normal” refers to all of the activities we had to give up during the pandemic. Things like going to places of work and school, hugging friends and extended family, attending events, eating out, and travel. The phrase implies a return to the way life was, pre-March 2020.


However, rather than a return to “normal,” might we be better off with a new approach to life rather than the “same old same old”? Haven’t we learned a few lessons that can lead to better days ahead? Better than before. Better than “normal.”


What might those better days look like? May I suggest just six ways... and encourage you to think of many others.


A more flexible work environment. Prior to the pandemic, workers who wanted to work from home were often discouraged or prohibited from doing so. Employers now know that work from home can be productive. Better days ahead will include the flexibility to determine where we work, at home or in an office.


More efficient meetings. Face-to-face meetings have many advantages but require the time and place to assemble and generally take up more time. Better days ahead will include determining which meetings need to occur in person and which ones can take place via email, phone, or virtual platforms.


Improved technology and increased tech-savviness. The need for virtual meetings and events has required both improved technology and an increase in the ability to navigate and use these platforms. Better days ahead will only lead to even greater improvements in technology and increased comfort and confidence of users.


Pick-up and delivery convenience. The need to limit the number of in-store customers led to a new way to shop locally – ordering online and arranging to pick up at the store or have goods delivered. This created additional jobs and provided a convenient way to get groceries and other goods. This option will remain as we look to better days ahead.


Protocols for preventing the spread of illness. New systems for reducing or preventing the spread of COVID-19 resulted in lower rates of seasonal flu and other illnesses. Learning what worked and what was unnecessary will lead to smarter protocols in better days ahead.


Heightened appreciation for human contact. More than anything, we desire the return to free and open human contact. Smiling and talking without a mask, visiting seniors in nursing homes, having a conversation without social distancing, enjoying concerts and sporting events sitting close together on bleachers, singing and worshiping in crowded pews, shaking hands and so much more.


When we talk about a return to “normal” this is really what we are talking about – a return to human contact. We need it for our mental health. As we look to better days ahead, let’s do human contact even better than before. Let’s be more intentional about making eye contact, strive to have conversations face-to-face rather than text messages, and prioritize visits and gatherings.


Instead of saying “I can’t wait to return to normal” say “I look forward to better days ahead!” Let's commit to making the future better than before!


“What is coming is better than what is gone.” ~ Arabic proverb


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