After World War I, Warren Harding used the phrase, “Return to Normalcy” as his slogan for election. I’ve always really liked this phrase, and not just because of how it has long caused scholars to debate whether or not the word actually existed prior to this point.
There are many moments through history were the question comes up about whether or not we can ever return to normal. Often throughout this pandemic, we’ve seen the usage of the phrase, “The New Normal”, which causes me unhappiness because I miss the old normal. Which is probably why the concept of a return to normalcy is a big one. Just imagine the world during Harding’s time, coming out of a war, and the Spanish flu, and the first Red Scare, all wanting the world to go back to what they used to know.
And then Harding comes along saying, “I’ll get us back to where we used to be!”.
Of course, he didn’t. Our issues with Russia and Communism continue to this day, we still have our regular flu shots, and World War II was far worse than WWI could have ever been, and ultimately changed the face of war for forever.
Similarly, we saw the return of this phrase during the most recent American Presidential election, attached to the campaign of Joe Biden. And similarly, we really shouldn’t see things ever actually go back to normal.
Just looking at what all we still have to do in order to get through airport security, which was a response to the September 11th attacks, its apparent that it’s really difficult to go back to the way things used to be.
And that’s sad.
And that’s also how I’ve been feeling lately with my personal life. I’ve been really excited about getting out of school and returning to the normalcy of my life before school. But, just like with COVID (which has lasted about as long), I don’t even really know what that life was like any longer. The idea of not constantly rushing through everything to cram homework into all of the quiet seconds of the day, well, that feels foreign. Of course, for the couple of weeks I’ve been done with school, I’ve managed to have a bit of down time to reboot, but the truth is that something feels incredibly wrong when I don’t have all the things to do.
Last night, I’m sure because of how little I had to do during the day, I couldn’t sleep, my legs wanting to run off to somewhere because my body was sure we still needed to be on the run.
And, of course, with the purchase of a bakery now in the mix, things really aren’t going to be quiet for that much longer around here.
But that doesn’t mean I don’t miss it…not that I’m even sure if my memories of the Old Normal are all that accurate any longer…