I Don’t Want My Life Back


I Don’t Want My Life Back “I just want to go back to normal!” 

The last few months have been a mess, y’all. We started 2020 with Australia on fire, followed quickly by a possible World War III, presidential impeachment, global pandemic and ensuing shutdowns, a hot minute of murder hornets, then on to nationwide protests and conversations on systemic racism and police brutality. And we’re only halfway into the year! 

As society adjusts to the new reality that comes with all the changes so far this year, I think it’s safe to say we are all ready for any kind of respite from all this anxiety and a return to some sense of normalcy. I keep thinking to myself that things will calm down when the kids go back to school, but at this point we don’t know if that will even happen, so still we are left in limbo and missing those simpler times that were also known as February. 

When I think about all the things that have happened, though, I realize that when all the dust settles, I don’t want my old life back. In fact, I don’t think I want much of anything to go back to the way things were. 

In the last three months, I have genuinely enjoyed having my kids home all day every day. My husband set up a makeshift office on the front porch, and we ate three meals a day all sitting around the table together. There have been no deadlines, no appointments, no one to disappoint. We have tried new recipes and ordered a lot of pizza and binge-watched entire series on Disney+. After 35 years of believing myself to be an extrovert, I learned that I actually love being home with nothing to do, and I have felt incredibly energized by solitude. Turns out I am very much an introvert who just loves people, and mentally I am the healthiest I have ever been.

Of course, we have had our challenges.

Too much togetherness is a real thing, the middle schooler is having social withdrawals, the library being closed leaves us all starved for new stories, and what I wouldn’t give for a spin class right about now! But all things considered, I don’t want to “get back to normal.” Normal left me tired, stressed, forgetful, busy, and blind. Normal is frustrating, anxious, and always running late. Normal is not healthy for me. 

Moving forward, I will be carrying the lessons I have been forced to learn so hard and fast this year. Right now, I still don’t know exactly what that will look like, but I am promising myself to be different. Kinder to myself. More intentional with my choices. More aware and eager to listen to others. More sensitive to my husband and kids. While none of us will ever forget the madness that was 2020, I hope I will always look back and remember the struggles were catalysts for me to become a better version of myself.

I don’t want my life back. I’m making a new one.

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Mary Beth Unthank
Knoxville born and bred, my love for this area is deep and true! I'm a working-turned-stay-at-home mom to 4 kiddos from elementary to high school. My husband and I live in Knoxville where we both lead nonprofit organizations and are trying to become Love in our community. I love watching my kids learn something new, cooking for other people (but not for myself), and telling myself I'm a #fitmom when I go to the gym like once a month. I'm a bottle-feeding, disposable diapering, public-schooling (other than the time I homeschooled for a minute) mom with the stereotypical chill attitude of moms with large(r) broods. I love meeting new people, but I talk way too much and laugh when I'm uncomfortable. If you don't mind long stories and bad jokes, we are sure to be friends! Follow my family adventures on my blog Unthank You Very Much


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