We talk about things eventually going "back to normal" with a sigh of relief, but become wide-eyed at the notion of a "new normal."
It is unlikely things will be the same. But as a colleague recently pointed out, should going back to "the good old days" really be the goal?
After all, a new normal might mean that:
We're all more cognizant of each other's needs,
We collectively work together to put an end to wildlife markets (and become more conscious of animal cruelty everywhere),
We make the Internet a human right,
We raise the minimum wage and support systems that bring people out of poverty,
In the next crisis, we don't all rush out to buy toilet paper, depleting local supplies and straining a system based on normal shopping habits,
New leaders will emerge in unlikely places,
We have open conversations around mental health and improve access to care,
We see more ingenuity,
We have more empathy,
We spend more time on things that matter.
I'm less concerned about a new normal and more worried that the same forgetfulness that allows us to adapt to anything will make it far too easy to toss aside the important lessons we're learning now.