The New Normal
By Lindsey Curtis
Whether an individual has been infected or not, every person in the world has been affected by COVID-19 in some capacity. Restrictions have been put in place in every state and in many countries throughout the world. These restrictions range from two-week quarantines for those who have been exposed to the virus, to complete home-based lockdowns for everyone, whether they have been exposed or not. Here in Utah, we have seen some cases of the virus, which led state officials to implement stay-at-home orders. With the fluctuation that we have seen as of late, state mandates for masks have also been put into place. When it comes to the number of overall cases and the severity of them, we have not experienced the same intensity as more densely populated areas such as New York. Though this is true, we as a community have had to make some significant adjustments. As our state is slowly beginning to open back up, we continue to implement changes and adapt to life with a new type of “normal.”
What is the “New Normal?”
So, what exactly is this “new normal”? There are many things that will be different from this time on. Some restrictions may be temporary and slowly disappear with time, while others may be more permanent. No matter what, it is important to be educated and prepared as we move forward. Our new normal may include things such as masks becoming part of the everyday wardrobe, school and workdays will possibly be scattered to accommodate smaller amounts of people being together at a time, sports arenas may give little to no access to spectators, and travel (as you can imagine) will come with a lot more questions and risk assessment. Of course, all of this is in our best interest and done so with the hope that exposure to the virus will be a little more limited, but it does beg the question: how are we supposed to live like this?
I believe that this is a difficult reality that many of us have to face. Whether we like it or not, things are going to be very different moving forward. We are going to have many restrictions that seem annoying and tedious at times, but it is our job to make the most of it and to do our best to find the joy in this unique journey. A positive mentality – and knowing that these difficulties and changes will pass in time – will help us maintain optimism with reference to the future.
Though masks may be necessary in grocery stores or other common gathering areas, we can take comfort in knowing that this is not a permanent change, and by wearing one, we are helping to protect ourselves and those around us. School and workdays may be scattered, but we can find joy in the fact that people can return in some capacity – even if it is limited for a time. Although we may not be able to enter sports arenas quite yet, we will once again have the ability to enjoy the games on TV – an activity that many have been missing for quite some time now. And, though travel may be more restricted, we can take courage in knowing that travel destinations are beginning to open up again, and we still have the ability to enjoy them, even if it is on a smaller level.
Look On the Bright Side
Life is all about looking for the silver lining and finding joy in the journey. There are so many things that we can do each day to find that silver lining in the small and simple things as well. Take advantage of all the extra family time that you have been given. Deepen your relationships with parents, children, siblings, and spouses. Take time to go outdoors and enjoy the beauty of nature. Take up reading, or listening to podcasts, learn a new skill: be it baking, knitting, drawing, music; there are so many options and so many things for us to learn. Many have taken this time to improve themselves, taking time for self-care, exercise, personal journaling, and really getting in touch with who they are. There is so much more that I could list, and I hope that these few ideas have given you some inspiration and hope about the future as we adjust to our “new normal.”
Though we have had much taken away from us at this time, we must remember the things that this virus cannot take away from us. We as a people have proven time and time again that even the toughest trials will not break us. We will always find a way to adjust and adapt to whatever is thrown our way. So again, I say, take this time as you adjust to these changes to truly recognize the things that cannot be taken away from us. Embrace the new normal and the unique opportunities that are bound to come with it.