The new “normal”

It feels impossible to confront what’s been happening in a mere blog post, and yet I know the importance of remembering this time: the hardships overcome and the triumphs achieved. Even if right now it only feels like the opposite.

Unless you’ve already been self-isolating, you’ve undoubtedly heard of the Covid-19 pandemic that is sweeping the globe. In America, we watched with bated breath as China and then Italy battled the worst of the virus, and I can speak for myself when I say some of us never thought we would reach the same dire situation. And yet here we are – ICUs full, death tolls rising every day, and some politicians scrambling to lock down their states and rush through bills to try to save our local economies.

It’s honestly terrifying. I can’t remember the last time I saw a piece of media that wasn’t somehow connected to the coronavirus – unless I retreat deeply into the Netflix archives (which has been happening more than I care to admit). It is affecting everything imaginable; some changes are larger than life and some seemingly minuscule, yet still important to those enduring them. Workplaces are scrambling (mine included), weddings are being cancelled, women are giving birth alone and separated from their babies, high school seniors are missing their proms. Children are kept from their friends, toilet paper is controversial and hands everywhere are dry and cracking from the excess of hand washing. We instinctively stand several feet away from each other, and greeting others with a hug or handshake seems like a thing of the past.

Truth be told, I haven’t been handling this new normal very well. I’m already introverted, so it’s not that I miss being in big crowds, or parties or bars. My grief lies in the uncertainties that we face: job security, health of our loved ones (and ourselves), and in general the world that we knew. This article that I read today is a great explanation of the grief that a lot of us are feeling and how to deal. During my last trip to the store two weeks ago, I returned home feeling so incredibly heavy. The air in the store was thick with tension. Everyone was walking a little bit faster with a look of fear behind their eyes, foreheads creased. The cashiers looked exhausted, and my heart broke for them. It’s about time to go to the store again, and I’m a little anxious about what we’ll find (or worse, what we won’t).

In our household, we are: washing hands obsessively, disinfecting surfaces more often, staying home unless absolutely necessary, postponing spending time with loved ones, and just trying to keep our heads above water. It’s one thing to choose to spend a lazy weekend in, and another to be forced to for weeks on end. The weight of this virus is crushing for all of us. While the entire scope of this pandemic and its repercussions are unknown, the effects are sure to be with us for a while. And as the article mentions, that is the acceptance stage of grief: “This is happening; I have to figure out how to proceed.

I haven’t quite reached that point, but I’m hoping by this weekend I will be able to shake off the heaviness, spend some time with myself and my thoughts and re-evaluate how I want to allow this to affect me. We can only control what we can control, and that is ourselves and own actions. So I will continue to wash my hands, isolate myself to prevent further spread, love on my puppies and my partner, and do my best to stay positive and be grateful for what we have: each other, our health, the supplies sustaining us and the backyard that allows us to safely get fresh air and sunshine.

Wishing everyone love & positivity during this tough time. And here are some precious dog photos to spread some joy!


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