Rethinking Life in the “Newer Normal”

Published: 31/5, 2021

“Life moves pretty fast. If you don’t stop and look around once in a while, you could miss it.” 

Most readers of that proverbial “certain age” will recognize this line from the movie, “Ferris Bueller’s Day Off.” Released 35 years ago this month (yow!), the very-80’s movie still retains its power to lure even the most dedicated of us into playing hooky for a day, though likely in a car somewhat humbler than the classic Ferrari 250 GT California that served as the escape vehicle for Ferris and his pals (not to mention the parking garage employees, who had their own day off).

Now, with the pandemic’s disruptive grip on daily life easing in most parts of the country, many people are understandably hungry to “get back to normal” as quickly as possible, even if that means keeping a mask within easy reach, or another person at a still-socially comfortable distance. 

Indeed, after so many months of the “new normal,” who’d have thought a humdrum 8-to-5 routine would be so alluring, and so welcome!

But while many contractors did manage to stay active throughout the pandemic, there might be a temptation to fast-forward through the transition to a “newer normal” that retains a few too many habits of old one, i.e., spending long hours on the job or foregoing breaks and learning activities for the sake of getting even more done. Yes, it will be great to be busy again, but will we also welcome the stresses and complaints that come along with it?

Many lessons have come out of the last 18 or so months, from our resiliency and ability to adapt to change (albeit begrudgingly sometimes) to a renewed appreciation of what it means to actually live. Maybe that view afforded by the emptier roads and less-stressed schedules of last year wasn’t that bad. And if there were some shortcomings in our lives, perhaps they really are overdue for some attention and improvement.

Routine may bring both comfort and profit in routine, but perhaps the transition from “new normal” to “newer normal” offers the chance to make life a little less frantic, a little healthier, and a little more open to new ideas and spontaneity…like playing hooky and seeing what’s out there (as long as we’re not shirking those promised deadlines and responsibilities, of course).

So as we get ready for a summer unlike any other—from overdue reunions to a scaled-down, solstice-hugging World of Concrete show—let’s be sure to set aside time to stop and truly look around and consider all the other things that comes with life and simply being here.

A good way to get started is to remember what Ferris also said: “The question isn’t ‘what are we going to do?’ The question is ‘what aren’t we going to do?’”

And speaking of World of Concrete, PDa will be on had to report on all three days of festivities from Las Vegas. Though the number and scope of exhibitors and attendees may be down from previous years, there is sure to be plenty of equipment to see and try out, stories to share, and surprises that might not stand out during a “normal” show. (But then, “the newer normal” is still a work in progress.) Hope to see you there! 


Jim Parsons, Senior Editor

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