What is the NEW ‘Normal’?

When the media refer to the term ‘NEW’ normal what does it actually mean? I assume they are referring to the impact COVID has had on the world as a whole and how we must learn to adapt physically and mentally to our new lifestyle restrictions as individuals. It is probably the general term adopted to encourage those of us who are slowly going barking mad to adapt to life in the wake of the pandemic as every wave of infection presents new challenges, restricts our liberty and for some their existence (shielding). We also grieve for all those who have lost family and friends to a virus that was originally referred to as ‘just flu’ and don’t make a fuss.

Everyone’s ‘normal’ is different, so what is normal to me most definitely won’t be normal to others. whatever our normal most are now suffering with lockdown fatigue.

The NEW NORMAL
The NEW NORMAL

I finally understand how my parents and elderly relatives referenced World War II to record landmarks in their lives

Before the War (BTW)

During the War (DTW)

After the War (ATW)

We already refer to normal life as ‘Before COVID‘ and flipping through photographs on my mobile phone it seems inconceivable that so many people crammed into bars and restaurants like sardines in a tin.

During COVID ‘ is referred to as the ‘New Normal’ as we try desperately to reset our life’s compass and learn to deal with masks, lockdowns, hand sanitizing, social distancing etc while we move in and out of different levels of’ lockdown with numerous Do and DON’TS that are evermore confusing and ridiculous as Lockdown Fatigue takes its toll.

Learning to cope with loneliness and isolation is hard when you hear some people complaining because they want a holiday abroad. Why – we are in the middle of a pandemic. I want to shout at them: we’ve not seen our children and grandchildren for nearly eighteen months and you complain because you can’t have a holiday?

Reading FB earlier today a guy reckoned the sick and people over a certain age should shield (be locked away) while the rest of the community continue with their lives. He really has no idea.

Our only frame of reference for a pandemic is long before we were born and we rely on history for facts (unless the activists also want to sanitize that, no pun intended). The Spanish Flu (1918 influenza pandemic), infected about one-third of the world’s population (500 million) and resulted in between 20 and 100 million estimated deaths. When I heard these figures bandied around by politicians and media health experts I did not drill down deep enough to follow the course of that pandemic. If I’d done so I would have realised there was no quick fix and we were going to be in this for the long haul.

The Spanish flu pandemic lasted just over two years (February 1918 to April 1920). The pandemic officially began on 4th March 2018 with four successive waves of infection. If you look at the timeline the resemblance to COVID-19 is scary. (I never realised this until writing this post).

Fast forward just over a hundred years to March 2020. We’ve already had two COVID waves and some countries such as France now enter their third while Portugal is only just beginning to recover from the second.

On a positive note, the isolation and ‘stay at home’ campaign has meant we have had time to appreciate the little things and the value they bring. You also realise who your true friends are.

  • The successes, surprises and failures of online shopping. We now do our weekly supermarket shop online and have it delivered. It can be random. Ordering in Portuguese is both challenging and rewarding. And the Devil is always in the detail.
  • Trying new recipes.
  • Learning to upcycle/repurpose and as my mum used to say -‘make do and mend’ because we can no longer just ‘pop’ to the shops on a whim
  • Gardening. We live in the garden and are attempting to grow some of our own vegetables. Most I have started from seed. It’s a constant challenge to stay one step ahead of the bugs and other diseases.
  • Hobbies: Stone painting -yep, a new hobby. Mosaics. Painting
  • Keeping a photographic record on my blog of flora and fauna in the Western Algarve (Wild Wednesday)
  • Blogging
  • Poetry

When both my husband and I eventually have our vaccine I do wonder after so much fear and anxiety will life ever return to the old normal. As I write this I can’t imagine greeting friends with a hug or going to the hairdressers, hospital, doctors, supermarkets, shops, bars and other crowded locations etc without wearing a mask.

COVID will no doubt leave emotional and mental scars as if etched on the skin like a tattoo. A constant reminder of this traumatic time.

Living through this virus war I can’t even begin to imagine what it must be like for refugees who are forced to flee the homes with nothing more than they can carry.

Our respect to the health professionals who have worked tirelessly throughout and have given so much. They are the true heroes of this pandemic.

How are you dealing with the NEW NORMAL?

Picture: Image by Gerd Altmann from Pixabay

24 thoughts on “What is the NEW ‘Normal’?

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  1. Touchy but Wonderful post. I just did something on my experience from a Portuguese Colonised Goa along with a FREE recipe of Sorpotel an awesome Portuguese Delicacy, feel free to visit my post to check it out. Blessings.

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      1. As best as possible. Doing lots of baking, exercising, and mindfulness practice. Depending on the day, sometimes it helps.

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          1. I think much of what the above are saying is good information. I would add “unplugging” from those preoccuppied with political correctness, while doing the everyday things, and unplugging from social media, the internet, and smart phones, except to make calls. Outside a couple of health things, I can’t really say my smartphone, this laptop, nor television has added anything I didn’t already know. I can turn on a couple of news stations (one’s I trust more) once a week, listen to one radio station, once a week, and pretty much I know what’s going on. I “hang out” with calmer, saner minds, with those who live normal life with family and friends, read classic books (By the way, if you read Louis La’moure books, you’ll get lessons in history never covered in public school, and far superior. ), and toss anything away that is new agish. Anyway: Keep it real!

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            1. I’d love to unplug from social media but I run and co-own two websites https://www.writingforums.com/forum.php and https://www.flashesofbrilliance.org/
              I try not to look at the social side of FB and once managed to go nearly a whole week without checking in. IT was absolute bliss! The problem I have at the moment is all the intel I have on COVID situation and lockdown areas and hotspots is via official FB groups… as I write this the R rate in our area has risen exponentially thanks to an outbreak at a commercial farm employing migrant workers. We are in and out of lockdown like a cuckoo popping in and out of a cuckoo clock. The situation changes rapidly to the point where we cannot leave our homes unless absolutely necessary nor can we leave our district without proof of reason to travel.

              As far as hanging out it is only the last couple of weeks we’ve been allowed to meet up with two friends at a time in the garden. This is thought for us so social interaction via the net is all we have. 😦

              Thank you for the recommendation re Louis La’moure books. I’ll check them out. 🙂

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  2. This a subject we think on quite a bit these days – and yours is a thoughtful and thought-provoking post. I think even after we have our vaccinations, we are likely to be more cautious than not. I think we would rather play it safe. Fortunately, our lifestyles permit this, for which we are grateful.

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    1. We already see the youngsters out partying again now lockdown has been lifted, which grinds my gears. Their selfish behaviour will create another wave/lockdown and jeopardise people’s livelihoods, We live in a tourist area of the Algarve and several restaurants and shops will never reopen. I know we will always continue to wear masks even after we’ve had our jabs because our population is too transient. Only this week a friend had an altercation with a tourist in our little local supermarket because they would not respect the social distancing rule.

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      1. Goodness! I feel for you … it gets my hackles up to when I encounter uncivic behaviour.

        We have several “touristy” areas which have a party vibe even these days. I only chance there when I am running past. But I can’t imagine you being right in the thick of things all the time!

        We, too, will remain cautious until things settle down some. It will be challenging when the world around us start to behave “irresponsibly”.

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            1. I try and stay away from FB and other social media channels and as you say, events do move quickly. We still have the 3rd and 4th way to go in Portugal and then we should begin to see the light at the end of the tunnel.

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  3. All through human existence, certainly soon after the beginning, people have attempted to “convince” others what they want others to believe for their own purposes. Some are honest. However, we are seeing propaganda on steroids today. This had the positive effect, on some people, to question everything they believed, even from their youth, to know what they believe, to separate opinion from reality, and then to continue thinking for themselves.

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  4. This post exactly expresses my thoughts and situation. We, too, haven’t seen our children for about 18 months. Thank. God. For. Zoom. They didn’t have that in 1918. My husband and I have had our first shot, and will get the second one in May. Even after that we will be very cautious about going out, and we will continue to wear our masks until the numbers have plummeted. This pandemic has revealed what people are made of. As with any emergency, some come through with flying colors. Others, not so much. One thing is certain—this experience will be seared in our memories. Finally, it is important to remember that pandemics are part of human existence. With any luck, we won’t have another one for quite awhile. But we all should be prepared. This includes individuals, private enterprise, AND governments.

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    1. It is certainly a test of endurance Laurie. The grandkids are growing up so fast while I seem to be growing old so quickly 🙂 We don’t have Zoom we use WhatsApp but the mobile phone is really too small

      The shortage of vaccines and now the speed at which they are rolling out is like watching paint dry… especially as they keep adding groups to Phase 1 which means Phase 2 is slowly moving towards the distant horizon… like the elusive pot of gold at the end of the rainbow.

      At least we’ve made some amazing friends during this time so another positive.

      Portugal was so overwhelmed by a spike of infections at the beginning of the year, a team of doctors and nurses came over from Germany to help. How kind!

      This pandemic has certainly brought out the best and worst in people. 🙂

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