Have you embraced this new normal?
These may be times of social distancing but my social life is busier than it's been for years. We are now 'meeting' friends in foreign fields for coffees, cocktails, catch-ups and games not once a year like in days of yore but monthly, maybe more.
I expect your life is pretty similar. What has surprised me most is that like so many of you I have had technology 'thrust upon me' thanks to the lockdown.
For years people have asked me to run online writers' circles and I've been too resistant, bone-idle even, to do so. But now that my precious monthly face-to-face writers' circles are impossible, I've taken the plunge and paid for a subscription to Zoom. Just four weeks into lockdown and instead of leading just my local circle I have run 10 online writers' circles and four weekly Speedwrite Live events. That's 14 events instead of one!
I'd been too scared to try and run online workshops but now I'm doing that too now and am surprised to discover they really work too.
I always knew I was pretty good at connecting with people but now that I have a busy Virtual Events calendar I am thrilled that folk from years gone by, like Andrea, who used to come to my classes in Oman decades ago, are back in my life. So there I sit in my office in The Hague, looking out at the social distancing shoppers in the street below and there on my screen, we chat with Pascale in Perth, Isabelle in South Korea, Yvonne in Washington and Geraldine in Ireland.
Now, I know different. I am grateful that the lockdown has shown me a better way of connecting with more people and has forced me, at last, to take my classes online.
I've just finished reading Seth Godin's book, This is Marketing, for the online business book club I just joined. Godin believes that when people are in a state of transition they are ready to try new things. We are all experiencing a 'new normal'. None of us knows the rules. This means that the times are ripe for trying new things.
"We build something that people would miss if it were gone," he writes. "something that gives them meaning, connection and possibility."
I'm not sure whether my new normal is 'better' than it used to be. It's certainly different. If you are reluctant to leap on board with online connecting possibilities then I urge you to think again. It might become your new normal, as it has rapidly become mine. This week alone, I have signed up for online pilates and poetry classes, am running three writers' circles and a Speedwrite Live.
According to Godin we make change by "normalising new behaviours".
In just four short weeks this new way of connecting is beginning to feel like home.
To find out more about my virtual events please visit www.joparfitt.com/virtual-events.html
Jo Parfitt's Monthly Inspirer