During these strange times, I know many people are publishing recommendations of how to use this period of isolation to its full advantage. Maybe write that book you’ve always wanted to. Learn how to meditate. Try some new recipes. Clean the corners you’ve been ignoring. Bing-watch an old (or new) favorite. Catch up on reading. I have a myriad of ways to enjoy myself that I’ve been sharing on social media, but I thought I’d take a moment to also share my hopes for the future once we get through this pandemic. And we will get through it. Things will return to normal — and hopefully a new normal. Here are my hopes for what that new normal may look like:

I hope people come to learn that no matter how much we communicate and ‘connect’ through our computers and phones, that nothing — NOTHING — beats human-to-human contact. Nothing beats the energy of a smiling stranger. Nothing beats a hug.

I hope people learn to respect Mother Nature more. When we are less insistent on moving forward with technology, and building and manufacturing, then She benefits. Her air and streets becomes cleaner. OUR air and streets become cleaner. I hope we can return to some level of synchronicity with Her wisdom.

I hope we learn that we need less than most of us have.

I hope we learn to share — resources, kindness, talents — all of it.

I hope we learn that what affects one person, affects us all. Also, that one person’s healing is everyone’s healing. We do not exist in isolation. Your change of behavior can have a ripple effect.

I hope we learn that boredom is not the kiss of death. It can be the catalyst of creativity.

I hope we learn how to take care of ourselves better. That sleep is necessary. Rest and repair is essential. That the kind of food we eat matters.

I hope we learn that slowing down can actually help us become more productive.

I hope we learn that we have no control. Over anything. Except how we respond to events, challenges and situations.

I hope we learn generosity. We can’t rely on the government for support. But we can rely on each other. If you have enough to give, give. It will come back to you if you don’t clog up the flow of abundance.

I hope we learn to turn inward to find our joy, peace and contentment. That nothing in the outside world can give us that.

I hope we learn to pray. To something. I hope we learn faith. In something bigger than ourselves.

I hope we learn to respect all life — human, plant, animal.

I hope we stop taking this gift of life for granted.

Finally, I hope we learn that things happen for us — not to us. We are not victims here. Choose how you want to respond to this wake up call. For it is that — a call to move towards a new society that incorporates all of the above — and then some. It’s time.