The New Normal – Living Amid Covid-19

reading book

Will the history books get it right?

Will the fears, struggles, and realities of our daily lives amid our Covid-19 quarantine be adequately depicted in the pages our great-grandchildren read?

As we wander into new territory amid this Covid-19 pandemic, all of us are learning a new way to live.

People all over the WORLD are affected. Humanity everywhere is being challenged by a tiny, microscopic virus.

Businesses are closed. Airplanes are empty. Offices are shut down and employees are working remotely. Schools are shuttered. Playgrounds are eerily quiet.

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Americans are slowly adjusting to our new way of living. We restrict who enters our homes, and those that can must do a two minute hand wash before anything else. Priceless bottles of long-ago purchased hand sanitizer adorn every table and counter like candy dishes that once occupied my grandmother’s coffee tables.

At the store, I eye the man behind me in line because I think he’s getting too close. I step forward to increase my social distance, but not too much so I don’t get too close to the person in front of me. I’m grateful it’s cold enough outside that I can still wear my winter gloves in stores and not look paranoid. A woman pushing her cart is coming towards me, wearing rubber gloves and an N-95 mask. I can’t help but wonder where she got that mask from and if she truly needs it. The World Health Organization says masks are for the sick, the caretakers, and the medical professionals. Especially with the shortage, it only makes sense.

My outings must be cleverly timed to avoid the rush. Grocery runs are full stock ups. And every trip to a store requires a walk down the paper and cleaning aisle, hoping that just this once, I’ll get lucky and find either hand sanitizer, disinfecting wipes, toilet paper, or paper towels. Why people are hoarding these items for themselves, I’ll never understand. Clearly there are many that aren’t looking out for the greater good.

Marriages are being tested as many couples are working from home. Living constantly under the same roof has its challenges. Children are home, requiring constant attention, giving parents no peace of mind.

Bedrooms, dining rooms, and basements are being turned into home offices. Complications arise when those who are working from home are interrupted by children or pets. Work productivity and motivation is down amid the Covid-19 pandemic. However, most are just thankful that they simply have a job during these uncertain times.

The overall balance of the home is shifted with family always at home. Loud phone conversations can be overheard by those trying to sleep. The dishes keep piling up with everyone at home. The home is dirtier. The noise is constant. People long for personal space.

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The news of the day is filled with coronavirus stories. Stories, timelines, graphs, and press conferences are all over the internet and tv. You just can’t get away from Covid-19, no matter how hard you try.

My 19 year old daughter came home for spring break and is now home for the rest of the school year. Her first full year at college is now but a memory.  Her dorm room sits as it did the day she left, since we can’t go and retrieve her items while the state is in a lockdown. All of her personal items may even be boxed up and stored somewhere for her to retrieve later. Feeling slightly violated by the thought of someone boxing up her things, she shrugs it off, knowing there’s nothing she can do to stop it.

My 16 year old has been lost in a world of nothingness.  Long sleep-ins, late nights, with e-learning scattered in between, she lacks routine and discipline. Not being able to go to school, take her karate classes, or see her friends, she’s in this perpetual state of limbo. Is it Monday? Is it Thursday? No one really knows.

I am someone who doesn’t mind being confined to the house for a day or two. And at this point, even I am struggling with our current state of reality. No dinners out to look forward to, no carefree shopping trips, no school events to attend, and no visits with friends and family.

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Of course, all of these changes seem small in comparison to what others are dealing with.

So many have lost jobs, income, and health insurance. I’ve read harrowing stories of people suffering from Covid-19. This illness can cause horrible symptoms and side effects. Those recovering at home need the help of family members, leaving them in the precarious position of giving aid but trying to keep the rest of the family free from the virus. As a former nurse, I applaud all of the health care professionals for getting up every day and saving lives. With the nationwide shortage of personal protective equipment, these people are risking their own health to save the lives of others.

And yet with all of these changes we are experiencing in our lives, compared to those fighting on the front lines, our life in quarantine seems insignificant.

While I stay at home and try to keep my family healthy, others are risking their lives everyday to save Americans and our way of life. Whether you deliver packages, stock shelves, are a first responder, an educator, a janitor, or a medical professional, we thank you for working in these conditions and keeping some sort of normalcy in our lives.

I will no longer take my normal life for granted.

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In the meantime, I’ll continue to wash my hands, stay home, support local businesses, thank first responders and medical professionals, and be thoroughly grateful for husband’s job, my health, and my family’s health.

And I’ll just sit back and wait out the storm.

 

To your health,

Julie

 

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