New normal opens door to new talent

Treena Mielke

It has been close to a year since COVID-19 raised its ugly head and sank its huge and scary tentacles into this planet that we call earth.

The pandemic has brought with it what people are referring to as the ‘new normal.’

The new normal includes wearing face masks, hand sanitization and avoiding people, most people, that is. The new normal means setting fewer plates around a holiday table, and in your mind’s eye, knowing exactly how far six feet is.

The new normal means you do not seal a deal with a handshake, ever. The new normal means thinking twice about doing things that used to be normal, because more likely than not, they are not normal any longer.

I have never professed to be totally normal, anyway but all this ‘new normal’ crap is strange, even for me.

But, like the rest of the world who have been living with the trickle-down effect of COVID for almost a year, I am doing my best to adjust.

In times of crisis “reinvent yourself,” I read in one of the many self help books I often reach for to help myself be a nicer, better, kinder, smarter person. I am usually surprisingly good at all the above until about noon. Then it is kind of a downward spiral after that and my nicer, kinder, oh yes, and slim, self just wants to crash on the couch and escape into the world of Netflix while munching on Cheezies and downing a coke. I’m talking a full- sized coke here, not one of those mini-cokes, that disappear in about two swallows.

There is something to be said for reinventing yourself, though. As you flip through the pages of history, you can read about people who reinvented themselves over and over again.

During the Second World War, women, whose traditional role was to stay home and make life as wonderful for their husbands as possible, while wearing an apron and just the right shade of lipstick, went to work in factories and wherever else they were needed. They wore trousers, for goodness sakes.

They certainly did not just sit home and wait and pin curl their hair and pine for their men.

For us, living in the pandemic I believe it is so important to look at each opportunity that is out there, even if it does not fit the mold of who we thought we were.

For myself, an opportunity to reinvent myself a little bit anyway, just kind of showed up.

It seems that living inside myself, carefully hidden among layers of other stuff that make up me, their lived an out of work, but most capable hairdresser.

Who knew?

It started with my husband’s hair. He has mobility issues, so to get to a barber whether there is pandemic or not, is most difficult. Hence, I sprang to the rescue, hair clippers in hand offering to give him my undivided attention while I turned him into a really ‘cool dude.’ Well, at least a reasonably cool dude. He has extremely curly hair so its best to use electric clippers and shape it carefully. Very carefully. I also found out that it is a good idea not to utter the word, ‘woops,’ when the clippers slip a little. That expression seems to really freak him out.

Anyway, I have cut his hair a few times now and, if I do say so myself, it looks pretty darn good.

Since that time, I have been wielding those new left-handed scissors quite a bit. I have, weirdly enough, adopted a bit of a reputation. In fact, the other day my neighbour asked me if I would, (you guessed it) cut her hair.

The truth of the matter is I have no idea what I am doing.

But then, neither did I when I penned my first column back in the days when Moby Dick was a minnow, and I was a young mom with three little kids trying to figure out how to cook hamburger five hundred different ways.

But I have to say it’s fun learning. And really life seemed to be all about learning anyway, doesn’t it? Learn to adjust, learn to go with the flow, learn to smile, and sometimes, when the chips are down and the world seems to offer no safe place to hang out, may be it is time to learn how to reinvent yourself.

And discover a latent talent.

It is fun.

You just need some willing participants along the way.

Treena Mielke is a central Alberta writer. She lives in Sylvan Lake with her family.