Our lives have been interrupted and the world as we knew it changed abruptly and dramatically over the past month. As with any life experience, I've learned a lot—already. These are nuggets of reality I'll carry with me and likely pass on to my future grandchildren as we chit-chat in the herb garden. Or while the family is gathered around the fire pit on a cool spring evening...just like that spring when the Coronavirus upset our lives beyond anything imaginable outside a science fiction movie or history class.
Let's start with something I have to get off my chest before I self-combust, creating a mess Hubby does not want to clean. I've learned that I despise the phrase "new normal." This is not our new normal. It's our temporarily different. It's our uncharacteristically surreal. It's our what we have to do now so we can eventually get back to normal. Day-to-day routines won't be indefinitely virtual. Social distancing is a strategy, not a new way of life. So please, let's drop the "new normal" and call it what it is: a Temporary Adjustment Strategy to Combat COVID-19, or our new "TASCC." And that's all it is. A TASCC (pronounced "task"), which once successful, will be checked off our lists and put behind us.
I've learned that it's more important than ever to eat meals around the table as a household as often as possible. Whether your household is you and your roommate(s), you and your partner/spouse, you and several family members, or you and a device connected to someone via video chat, time around a table eating and talking and laughing and sharing is critical. It keeps us sane. Connected. Entertained. Relevant. And the food doesn't matter. One night, we got creative with a couple of boxes of mac and cheese, a box of macaroni, some leftover chunks of cheese (which we shredded), the last of the American cheese slices, leftover chicken (diced), and a frozen bag of broccoli to create a large pan of "leftovers mac n cheese casserole." It wasn't half bad. It not only fed our household, but it also served as a discussion starter (well, joke starter, really).
Which brings me to my next lesson. In this temporary age, or TASCC, if you will, during which some people feel the need to hoard grocery staples, it's essential to use up all the extras and leftovers. Waste not, want not has become as relevant as ever.
Along those same lines, I'm both proud of how little toilet paper I really do need and equally disgusted with how much toilet paper I've wasted in my lifetime (prior to TASCC, of course). And do we even need paper towels? We have a couple of rolls left, but since I started intentionally using dishtowels and cloths, I've successfully broken my habit of grasping for a sheet of paper towel the minute I notice something moist. I may never go back. You're welcome, Mother Nature.
I also learned what we have neighbors! Not just houses I pass on the way to and from work and the grocery store and girls-night-out with my peeps. There are people at the houses. And when Hubby and I take our little walks now, the people are outside doing yard work, or walking (on the other side of the street a safe distance away, of course), or sitting on their porch. We're waving and chatting (from a safe distance, of course), and actually interacting with our neighbors more than ever before.
I hope we continue to eat meals together, use our resources sparingly and wisely, and build meaningful relationships with our neighbors once we've checked this TASCC off our lists. I also hope the hungry will continue to be fed. And that we will continue to help those in need. And that we will always appreciate and respect all that we have—including our planet and its precious resources.
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