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Kamloops News

THOMPSON: Welcome to the new normal

December 06, 2021 - 12:00 PM



What’s life been like for you the past two years? No, don’t laugh, I’m serious.

Let’s see…we’ve had a once-in-a-hundred-years pandemic that changed the way we live day to day. We’ve seen family and friends less than ever. We’ve worn masks so much they now seem as normal as shirts and pants.

First-graders have spent one-third of their lives only with other kids in their “bubbles.” We’ve almost forgotten what a romantic dinner in a great restaurant is like. Forget Paris or Hawaii, remember flying anywhere for fun?

Hmmmm. Then, there’s the forest fires, floods, divisive politics, social media that seems anti-social, and rising prices for just about anything and everything we want and need. Of course, with infamous supply-chain disruptions…we’re almost happy to pay more for something if we can just get it.

So, if you think the past two years have been awful…the worst times in your life. Well, understandable…but I don’t think so. We read and watch the news and say things like, “I can’t wait for my life to get back to normal.”

Hey, this is normal…this is how things are now. Our lives aren’t on hold, suspended because things have changed from what we’ve come to expect. We can’t get lost in nostalgia for the good ole days. This isn’t a dress rehearsal, it’s life and we need to make the most of it. We are living our lives, now.

It’s easy to believe the best days of our lives surround events…birthdays, parties, weddings and vacations. And while you can certainly make a case for that kind of thinking…it’s short-sighted. It’s a little like relying on others for your happiness. You make you own happiness to a large extent.

Happiness comes in small and simple doses of everyday life. I think of times like finding my wallet after two days of wondering where the hell I left it. It’s the obvious humour of asking your spouse where your glasses are…as you stand there with them resting on your ears and head. I’ve actually done these things…and believe me they bring both smiles to your face and a hard to manufacture sense of joy.

Often, life’s punctuations…those planned events…like a high school reunion, Thanksgiving, a new and better job…end up not being the happiest times in our lives. Indeed, they can be terribly disappointing. Usually, declaring a great day or happy event in advance…simply doesn’t work.

I find that what makes me unhappy during the pandemic…pretty much always made me unhappy. I’m not saying anyone is wrong to be concerned or worried for yourself, your children, your parents and grandparents…people, in general, during these turbulent times.

People care…so it’s easy to be consumed by events that seem overwhelming. Stress doesn’t mysteriously disappear.

But, what I’ve found over 70-plus years is that times are mostly always turbulent…it is the nature of life. The one thing we can control in all of this is how we live it. That takes the right attitude…a feeling of confidence…not arrogance…of caring.

The more we can adopt feelings of compassion and empathy…a sense of I need to help those less fortunate not later when these events pass…but now, because people need help today…the closer we’ll be to finding happiness most days.

— Don Thompson, an American awaiting Canadian citizenship, lives in Vernon and in Florida. In a career that spans more than 40 years, Don has been a working journalist, a speechwriter and the CEO of an advertising and public relations firm. A passionate and compassionate man, he loves the written word as much as fine dinners with great wines.

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