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Monday, July 13, 2020

Pandemic Diaries: The New Normal

New Normal. It is a term that has been thrown out there so many times during this pandemic. All over the world, people are talking about how there should be a new way that we live our “normal” lives. A way where we can continue to do the things that we used to do, except that we do things in a different way so that we can prevent the spread of COVID 19.

Image by Annalise Batista from Pixabay

The most important thing right now in this new normal is to stay home as much as we can to lessen the risk of exposure. But if this is not possible, we need to be able to take the precautions recommended by health experts seriously.

To me, new normal has meant taking extra precautions to ensure not just my safety but the safety of the people around me. I was a germaphobe even before the pandemic, so there is nothing new about me disinfecting everything from the get-go, but I do go the extra mile by using UV Light to add an extra layer of disinfection. 

I have had to do things differently when it comes to going out in this new normal lifestyle. Going out for essentials now means not wearing any jewellery, not bringing a bag or wallet —just keeping things to a bare minimum to make sure that there would be less things to disinfect when I get home. The same goes for when I am going to work. I used to bring a big bag but have now changed to using a body bag. It just makes things easier/simpler whenever I get home. If I have a big bag or have on too much stuff, it takes me longer to disinfect since I must take everything off and change as soon as I get home. The less time I need to take doing so, the better.

Speaking of things to do when I get home, another thing I do not usually do once I get home but have made part of my new normal is to wash up right away. I have nephews and a niece who welcome me home every day when I get home from work, I would like to be able to hug and kiss them as soon as I can. 

Another change? The never-ending deliveries. I would normally buy the things I need outside, but these days I would rather order food, groceries and whatever else I can via phone or online and have them delivered. I am truly appreciative of the people whose jobs are to go to various areas and take the risk that we would otherwise have to take just to get us the things we need. I am in awe of how hard these people work to ensure that the deliveries get to me safely: wearing their masks and protective gear, disinfecting themselves before handing things over and just being all around careful with the way they handle their deliveries. In the extreme heat that turns into sudden downpours, these people are bringing us the things we need so we do not have to. 

Keeping in touch with family and friends has been limited to phone calls and video chats. That is just the way it must be for now. If it means staying away to make sure that everyone stays healthy and safe, I will gladly do so. It was odd getting a visit from a cousin and not being able to hug each other. We decided it was safer that way even if it was something we were not used to.

When it comes to the workplace, the new normal means avoiding going out as much as possible. If meetings can be conducted via video chat, I try to do that. If things can be resolved via phone call or email, even better. I also try to make sure that I eat alone in my cubicle. Eating is the only time I take off my mask, so I would rather avoid being around other people when I eat. The other people at work, despite reminders to do the same, still all eat together. I know it could seem that I am being aloof and a snob for not eating with others, but at this point continuing to be healthy and being alive is more important than what people think.

While I have never been the type to go out that often, I would have to say that these days, I avoid going out at all as much as possible. If I can avoid it, I would.

A lot of news outlets have predicted that this pandemic can take as long as five years. The new normal we are experiencing will probably be the way we will be living by the time this virus is under control with the cure and the vaccine. Life as we knew it would have been changed forever by then. With everyone being forced to change and adapt to the new circumstances, I am sure things will be different five years from now. The new normal will be the normal by then.

Here is to hope that life would be better when that time comes.

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