Waiheke, Aotearoa New Zealand

March 22, 2020

New Normal

I've written a few letters this past week, but the world keeps changing so fast that they expire, shifted past their read-by date.

Two days ago, New Zealand - where I'm living now - closed its borders entirely to everyone but citizens and residents. It's never happened before, but with the limited medical capacity here, it was deemed the necessary choice. We're being told to prepare for batches of shelter-at-home mixed with more loose regulations, in waves over the next 12-18 months. A new normal.

New normal.

I was talking to my partner yesterday about how little actual time has passed, and yet how long it's felt. They way our cognitive biases so quickly tell us "it's always been like this", and how rapidly our behaviors and social norms can change. A few years ago, nearly everyone on earth magically learned that it was better to cough or sneeze into our elbows than on our hands, and all across the globe, I saw people doing just that.

Now we're learning social distancing, proper handwashing (which, let's be honest, we all definitely were taught as kids), and new ways of being with each other.

We're a funny group, us humans - we're habitual and resistant to basically any change; we're capable of dramatic shifts in behavior when a need or compelling reason arrives.

For many years, as I've traveled, one phrase has summed us up better than any other for me. It's what rings in my ears, from the streets of Bangkok and Buenos Aires, from Krakow to Kyoto.

Beautiful, messy, sticky humanity.

We're a mess to be sure. But we're also amazing to watch, understand, learn about. And stuck like tree sap, we're stubbornly difficult to move once we're set, and impossible to wash out. We adapt. We change. We learn and we grow.

It's times like these, more than any random Tuesday, that show us what we're capable of. Who we can be together - both our best and our worst.

We're spread all across the planet now. But we're still in this together. And no little bug has, or will change that.

Be well, and be good to one another.

-Steven

p.s. I'll probably make a bigger thing of this next week, but for the duration of Covid-19, I'm making my life-planning course free for everyone. If you're stuck inside looking for something to do, maybe this can help you pass the time. :)

To get it, go here, then enter the code "socialdistancing". It's my little part to help us get through this.

p.p.s. The best things I've seen all week are clearly the quarantine memes. Here are a few of my favorites.

Where's Waldo? Penguin Self-Tours , What F. Scott Fitzgerald would have written and these two mega-lists.

Enjoy this letter? Share it!