As Gallatin County dwellers start to tip-toe out of our homes and inch back toward our modified life in phase one, we have a unique chance in reshaping our new normal. As we continue to practice social distancing, use face coverings, wash our hands and disinfect, we’re also able to look back with a crisp perspective on the past several months and start to plan how and what we want to reconnect with.

Personally, hitting pause has given me reason to ponder. Is there a way to eliminate unnecessary daily habits that take up time and mental energy? Not unlike those generations post-Great Depression, I am finding that a “less is more” model has served me well.

Streamlining work deadlines through online tools and forced dedication in attending to family needs, has been painful but at the same time, freshly rewarding. The adaptability we’ve gained at home over the past several months will forever change the way we work, educate, and communicate.

Reopening life’s possibilities brings us to a crossroad of decisions in how we direct our time and energy. Can we, or better yet, will we continue to build upon the care and friendship we’ve exhibited for those in need in our community?

In his reopening message, Governor Bullock pointed this out that, “while there is reason for optimism, I am going to ask Montanans to continue looking out for our neighbors who need it the most and to continue being vigilant in every step we take. Because just as important as it was for us to act as a community beginning five weeks ago, that still holds true to this day – and moving forward.”

Optimistically, instead of a Governor’s order, looking out for our neighbors just might become part of our new normal.

As we’ve worked together to flatten the curve, we are now moving forward together with little steps, knowing that we can get there faster by moving slower. In the scramble to return to normal, contemplating which parts of normal we really wish to scramble back to might help us all in simplifying our lives.

Maury Wiegand has been a personal trainer and wellness educator in Bozeman for the past 25 years.