It began a few weeks ago when a friend posted this question on his Facebook page:
Can we find fresh expressions for the phrase “new
normal”? It’s tired, like the phrase “at the end of the
day” has become. Any suggestions from you
grammarians and vocab-lovers for other ways to
express “new normal”?
I decided to play along and shared this suggestion: redefined reality.
My friend responded: “I’m using it! You’re my Cyrano de Bergerac!”
I thought we’d had a little fun and that would be that. Boy, was I wrong.
More responses to my suggestion soon appeared:
Doesn’t have to be! Only if we accept it!
I cannot stand the phrase “new normal” ;) #moveon #moveforward #bedone
I feel that “new normal” is trying to make us accepting of this “time out period” in our
lives. New normal suggests there is no end. Time out suggests there is a light at the end.
A “Time for Faith” is how I would rather see it.
Silly me, I thought perhaps I could change the conversation by providing a bit context:
I think the definition of “new normal” is interesting: A previously unfamiliar or atypical
situation that has become standard, usual, or expected. There have been lots of times in
history when something happened that changed how people lived, related, etc. I don’t see
it as static, but rather as always changing, evolving. Since the current situation is global
and severe, it just increases the speed of that change.
Here are just a couple of posts that show just how unsuccessful my context-providing proved to be:
I don’t have an answer but I’m sick of hearing these phrases. . . . I can’t stand hearing that
phrase bc there is nothing normal about this and ‘We’re all in this together’
I just want to barf when I hear that Ugh 😩
It’s NOT normal. There are too many people not trying to stop it, they just want their
freedom or want businesses back. I just want to see my adult kids again. Almost lost my
son in law and my son to it.
What began as a bit of fun between a friend and me struck a nerve. People weren’t buying what I was selling—even if I originally pitched it lightheartedly.
Since the day of my doomed Facebook exchange, I’ve been thinking about what might have been behind the responses. How could two words—whether “new normal” or “redefined reality”—evoke such deep emotions?
I have some thoughts that I’ll share later this week. I hope you’ll share your ideas. I also invite you to share how you respond when you hear the phrase “new normal”—or my suggested “redefined reality”—and if you have a phrase we might use instead.
I can’t guarantee that anyone will buy the new phrases we may come up with, but I believe it’s worth a try.
Associate Executive Minister