I can’t stop thinking about things like when will this all be over? When can we go back to work and socialize again? When will Coronavirus, COVID 19, social distancing, and stay at home orders no longer be a normal part of everyday life?
All I want is for everything to go back to normal again. I wasn’t exactly a social butterfly to begin with, but even a devoted introvert likes to have some options. Cabin fever can set in no matter how socially awkward you might be, and I don’t care how much you enjoy your alone time, too much of anything can be a bad thing.
I’ve spent a lot of my stay at home time researching when everything will go back to normal. There are some wonderful websites out there sharing amazing data. Some of my personal favorites are HealthData.org, The Financial Times, and the CDC.
While I understand that only Time Travelers can accurately tell us what the future holds, it keeps my brain busy to study the projections for what this virus might do to the planet, and when it might finally release its grasp on us.
Of course, even if we knew exactly when it was all going to end, what exactly would be waiting for us when the all clear is finally given?
In other words: What will normal be?
I’d like to think that everything would go back to the way it was before we ever heard of COVID 19 and the Coronavirus, but not only would it be foolish to think that could happen, it would also be bad news.
Things have to change. We have to learn from our mistakes. That which doesn’t kill us is supposed to make us stronger. If everything goes back to exactly the way it was, then we won’t be prepared for the next pandemic.
So what is going to change? Do you think people will go back to shaking hands and embracing? Will people hesitate to go to large gatherings like a sporting event or a concert? Will hand hygiene and personal space remain top priorities, or simply fade away now that the perceived threat is gone?
I make no secret of being an introvert. I’m a loner who gets lonely, but usually fights the urge to go out and be social because it has a history of not ending well.
Before this pandemic put the world on lock down, I was trying to make an effort to be more social. Now I fear that this situation has not only set back those plans, but also possibly crushed them for good.
Truth to told, I’m nervous about leaving the house. I need to go grocery shopping, and anxiety levels are through the roof. I’m planning my trip like I’m plotting a heist so elaborate that it would make Danny Ocean and his crew look like amateurs.
And don’t even get me started on the misadventure that running has become. I’ve had to abandon my preferred running route along the Penobscot River because the other people using the path are not practicing proper social distancing.
This morning, I went for a run with my mask on because that’s what the CDC recommends. It’s hard to run in a mask, in case you weren’t aware. Every time I saw another human in the distance, I’d change my route to avoid any chance of coming too close to someone.
I’m totally paranoid that everyone has the virus and will pass it on to me. I don’t want to think that way, but that has somehow happened.
So what the hell is normal going to feel like?
What do I want normal to be? I want to be able to go to work because I miss my coworkers, helping people, having structure to my day, and the steady paycheck that chases away so many anxieties.
I want to be able to work up the courage to ask out someone, and then worry about how well the date is going, and question my every decision while on it.
I want to be able to run along the river, and not have to worry that everyone is taking up too much space because people will have learned the importance of social distancing from this nightmare.
I want to be able to watch the Yankees again, even if they have to play an abbreviated schedule and occasionally lose a game.
I don’t want to have to put on a tuxedo, study the blueprints of my local supermarket, and plot my shopping trip down to the most minute detail just to go grocery shopping.
I never want to look at another chart or graph about new cases and deaths.
I want to be better prepared in case something like this happens again. That very well could mean burying gold bricks on my property like Ron Swanson, and actually building the basement bunker I often mention in my blog posts.
Will the streets be teeming with people again? Will the economy recover? Will changes be made to our healthcare system?
I’m worried that the new normal won’t feel right. I won’t mind a free restrictions to keep us safe, but I’m afraid that we’ll either overcompensate or under compensate.
I guess in the back of my mind, I’m afraid that I’ll never quite feel safe, and that my only solution will be to crawl so far back into my shell that I never come out again.
Here’s hoping that I’m worrying for no reason…
What are your thoughts about how life will be once this ends?