Living the New Normal

The Rest Is Best
By Lorna Foreman

Small pleasures help anchor us

It has been more than a year since the pandemic hit. There have been so many tragedies and it is a really scary situation. It is invisible, and to me, that is worse than facing a tangible threat. However, there have been some really interesting, profound, and on occasion, humourous events taking place.

After the amazing run of toilet paper which created a shortage, I could not figure out why people were stockpiling it. Just how much can one person use, I wondered? So I decided to do a small survey—just me. I took immaculate notes. I won’t tell you the whole story, but really is it that much different from the hoarding of toilet paper or the widespread baking of bread frenzy? All I will say is that the manufacturers would not want to hear my results.

Well, there were some other strange things I did, but when one gloomy January day, sitting in isolation during this lockdown, I looked around my room that I use most of the time and thought that perhaps it would alleviate the sameness by hanging all my paintings upside down. Crazy idea for sure, and it was fortunate that I finally realized how much work it would be to change all the hanging apparatus on the back. Although, I did hang an abstract to create a diamond shape instead. Looks good and I will keep it like that. I am sure that readers have had their own crazy notions during the pandemic—it’s not just me, is it?

Pandemics are no fun at all, yet during this period, I have done a lot of reflecting on my life, on society in general, and ponder—just what is really important in our lives?

I don’t have family, and during this time, I have definitely felt the lack thereof. Friends who do have families found ways of getting physically distanced during the good weather last summer and then using Zoom or Skype for weekly communication.

A good friend of mine had a Zoom Thanksgiving and Christmas dinner all organized by his granddaughter, who is about 12 years of age.

I am envious, even though I know I have some really, really good friends.

I wondered what the importance of family really is. I am not really certain of my background, so I decided to get a DNA kit from Now I am just patiently waiting to get the results. The only thing I feel that would be a disappointment was if there was nothing really interesting showing up. No matter, once I get the results, I will start searching for my family.

Perhaps I am just more sensitive, but there seem to be many people around me that are dying. Perhaps this is a morbid subject, but I wonder just how much stress can contribute to that rise.

Time has changed for me—my internal time feels different. Not being able to visit a lot of places, I am finding time flows better, in a more relaxed manner, and I am really enjoying that aspect. Even though I am retired, I found myself extraordinarily busy, so this is a good thing for me. Also, I am becoming a much more outspoken person and also more compassionate. It is as though I am sharing the universal pain.

I wished, when we first found about the pandemic, that the world would learn to co-operate and work together on all things. Unfortunately, it
hasn’t—yet there are pockets of wonderful cooperation in a variety of areas.

I am still hoping, and once the lockdowns are over and we’ve been vaccinated, I’ve promised myself that I will become more involved with my community.

But let’s get back to a little more joyful writing. I am getting to know my neighbourhood better. Waving and talking (well distanced) to neighbours that I had not seen before makes the walk even more enjoyable. The silence from the lack of cars gives me an opportunity to really hear all the bird songs as I walk along the streets.

I am preparing to go for a short walk today and perhaps to treat myself I will buy a small container of my favourite ice cream as a reward. I will convince myself that I will be out bicycling around Cornwall soon and will work it off. Yeah, sure!

Lorna Foreman is a self-described 70-plus writer, author and artist who lives happily and creatively in Cornwall.