COVID-19: Not a “new normal”

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There’s one expression we despise more than most. That’s right, you guessed it: it’s “the new normal.” We despised the expression even before people started referring to the current situation as a “new normal”.

As a realistic optimist, I refuse to accept this as a “new normal”. This will pass. There has been and will continue to be death, economic hardship and pain but it will pass. Most will rebound. It will take time and it won’t be over by Easter, but we shall overcome. The world shall overcome.

As we sit in our first week of state-imposed quarantine (our third of self-imposed quarantine, based on our recent time in the Vail Valley) and we watch the death toll and illness count rise and the stock market fall we take stock in what we do have. We are well stocked, but not obnoxiously so. We have, for the time being anyway and hopefully for the foreseeable future, our health. We have each other. We have family and friends. We’ve taken this opportunity of slower paces (for many, though not for our colleagues in healthcare) to reconnect with friends and family we’ve not spoken with for some time and those we have, albeit virtually via Facetime, WhatsApp, phone, text etc. We set aside at least an hour per day to exercise. We have used the heck out of amazon.com and grocery delivery. We try not to obsess over the news while we wait for the spread to crest and the healthcare system and pharmaceutical companies to catch up. We’ve been sharing a YouTube performance we find and like with family and Facebook friends (not sure if they like it or not, but its something) each day. We read and practice our Portuguese for our eventual return to Europe.

We wish we could do more. Our parents and/or grandparents served time in world wars. They rationed, scrimped, sacrificed and went overseas to fight. We are being asked to stay home and stop hoarding. It seems reasonable and not too difficult. We are heartened by the fact that while there are those who whine about their personal inconveniences or acted selfishly on the beaches of the Florida coast, the vast and overwhelming majority of people are staying put, staying safe and keeping the needs and health of those who are at higher risk than themselves and the healthcare workers who will pull us out of this crisis with heart, soul, blood, sweat and tears above their own personal needs by doing so.

These are scary times but things will return to a normal. Treatments will be found. Vaccines will be made available. The healthcare system will catch up and the economy will recover. Maybe the normal we’ll find at the end of this terrible ordeal will not be identical to the one a short few months ago, but it will be a semblance of normality. A new normal this current time is not.

Be safe, be well, stay home.

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