Spinning Plates & the New Normal

The relative who’s always a rock. Your steady friend who’s been in recovery for many years. The sunny coworker you typically never worry about.

In this topsy-turvy time of doom-scrolling and stress-eating and planet-warming, I doubt there’s a living, breathing one of us who’s actually managing to live their best life. Former First Lady Michelle Obama even admitted as much in her new podcast, recounting the low-grade depression she’s suffered at the recent state of the world.

Some people have always been better at keeping the plates spinning than others, but in a global pandemic when nothing feels certain, the cutlery seems to be crashing among even the best jugglers in the bunch.

I had no idea I’d gained my quaran-ten (pounds) until it was time to wear my summer clothes, and none of them fit. I jokingly blamed COVID because jalapeño potato chips and IPAs were the only things I could taste after having a mild form of the virus in March. Then my husband pointed out that it wasn’t like me to drink every night of the week. (I have alcoholism in my genes, and had always been vigilant — until I wasn’t.)

I needed a new, healthier form of self-care. Right now most of us do.

Maybe it’s beefing up your exercise routine. Maybe it’s a new gardening ritual, a nightly bath, a regular walk-and-talk phone call with a friend. I’m trying to reach out more to friends and relatives — especially the rocks I’ve relied on for decades. I’m not ashamed about reaching out to my doctor and others for mental-health help.

Because right now the new normal isn’t normal at all …

Beth Macy
Author & Journalist