Random Musings

The End of Normal

Hello, lovelies.

I’m not even sure where to begin with this post. I’m sure plenty of people don’t want another take on COVID-19, since everyone is being inundated with information–some good, some…not so much; so much so, it’s hard to escape from it, and we all need to, even if it’s just for a little bit. But part of my escape, part of my dealing with things, is to “confront them” through writing that, nine times out of ten, shows up on this blog.

So, feel free to ignore this post, if you’re not interested or not in a good head space for it. ❤

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I live in the middle of America and right now, my boyfriend and I have been in self-isolation for 9 days, only going out for groceries or essential shopping. Today was our last day leaving the house for the foreseeable future, as we’re hoping to flatten the curve and not only do our part to limit the spread of the virus by avoiding becoming vectors ourselves, but also to give our hospitals and staff time and not continue to overwhelm them by adding more cases simply because we want to get out of the house.

I’m very lucky that my job is able to go remote. I even was able to take some equipment home, so I practically have the same set-up at home that I did before. My boyfriend is currently unemployed and our hopes of him finding employment in the middle of a pandemic are very low. We have savings, but, like many, we weren’t exactly financially stable before and we’re even less so now.

So that’s a stressor.

Listening to stories about people not taking this seriously is a stressor.

Hearing estimates that this could last for more than the few weeks my job and other local sources first predicted are a stressor.

Can you tell what type of mood I’ve been in for the past few weeks?

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I’m also bummed, as I’m sure so many other people are. I have to miss celebrating my brother’s 18th birthday next week and his high school graduation in May has I can only assume been canceled, since his school has closed for the rest of the semester. I’ve had to cancel visits with friends and lunch dates. I’m terrified my trip to New Zealand, that I’ve saved and planned for over two years, will be cancelled this July and I won’t get to go to WorldCon there.

Of course, these are all little things, especially with everything else going on. But they are still real things with emotions attached. And I believe it’s valid to express that disappointment and those fears, especially when you remind yourself where they fall in the grand scope of things.

It’s also really weird how much I miss of my regular, normal life. I was just starting to get a routine settled. My job was about to start it’s peak and I was excited to experience that for the first time. Spring weather had finally showed up and I was overjoyed for all of the outdoor walks, adventures and date nights approaching.

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And sometimes, it’s hard not to think of the, “I should be…” or the “If this didn’t happen, I’d be…” in this scenario. How I should be coming home from work mentally exhausted from helping so many students, but instead, I’m nervous to go outside, because even though I feel fine, I have no idea if I’m carrying this virus and, if I saw someone else, if I could get them or someone they love fatally sick. How I should be counting down the days until a trip of a lifetime, but instead, am nervous to think about it at all, because I’m just afraid it’ll be robbed away. How I should be making jokes about how fast my weekends always fill up, instead of going through and canceling plans.

But that type of thinking doesn’t help anyone, but especially not me, with my anxiety and depression flaring up and spiking a little more than usually, of late.

This first week, I’ve just been…absorbing it all; giving myself permission to be shocked, upset, scared, unbalanced. I am a productive person by nature, so I’ve experienced a lot of guilt this week, too; guilt I’m not doing more, that I haven’t stayed with my routine, that I’m not still accomplishing everything I set out to do,

But, if there was any time in your life to cut yourself some slack?

This is it.

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I’m still not sure what my new normal is going to look like, while isolating. I still have work, of course, with my day job, and editing for clients coming up on the horizon. I still have books to write, novels to read and this blog I want to keep up with. But I think I’m going to let myself be a little more flexible. I’m going to let myself sleep in before work instead of getting up extra early like I had been before. I’m going to play video games a little bit more, because I just honestly fucking enjoying them. I might read for fun while waiting between emails and, while I do hope to finally start working out with all this extra time gained by commuting and canceled plans, I also want to continue to eat the foods I enjoy and not beat myself up if I decide to binge watch The Witcher finally instead of doing that evening workout.

Basically, this is a really long post to say that, I’m not really sure what I’m doing, even though I told myself today I was going to sit down and figure it all out, make an entire new routine, try and get back to normal.

Except there is no normal, anymore.

Not after this.

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Yet, despite that truly terrifying realization (mostly due to uncertainty of what the new normal is*), there are positives. I get to see my boyfriend every day (the same man, who, for the first three years of us dating, I got to see only on weekends and we only shared one full day off together). I get to be with my pets all the time. I’ll have more time to walk Dovah as the weather gets better. I get to wear yoga pants and t-shirts to work. I’m hoping to have more time for writing. I’m reaching out to friends more and checking in on them more than I normally would. Our house is really bloody clean, we’re getting some organizational projects done and we made a list of movies we hope to watch.

I think I might focus on that, first: focused on the positives and lessen my social media time, so I can hopefully lessen the number of times my panic spikes; focus on the hope that we will survive this and it will get better, even if we have to accept the fact that there is no normal after this. Life has changed.

We can hope—and work and strive for–it to be better than it was.

Cheers.

*And let me just say, I am not terrifying of the world changing. There are many ways we as a society NEED to change and it’s been a long time coming. I’m more scared that it will only get worse for our marginalized, immigrant, non-Christian, POC, LGBTQIA+ communities, as well as the environment.post signature

13 thoughts on “The End of Normal”

  1. This whole situation is crazy. My husband is working from home and my full-time job is shut down until the middle of April. I’ve never seen anything like this :/ Here’s hoping everything gets back to normal very soon!

  2. We all definitely deserve to cut ourselves some slack. Last week was difficult at first, feeling like I was stuck inside. Last weekend rolled around and I was excited to get out and do things, except the only things we could do were around the house. There’s nowhere to go. This week feels different to me, too, I think because the realization is setting in that we are headed for a new normal, and no one knows what that looks like yet. Stay strong.

    1. EXACTLY. You phrased that absolutely perfectly (and with much more brevity than I :P) and I definitely emphasize with where you were coming from! Strength and health to you and yours, as well!!

  3. I love this and you so much. You’ve articulated everything I’ve been feeling, I think what all of us have been feeling, and it’s such a comfort to see it written. You absolutely get to be upset about how your life has been disrupted, and I am crossing every finger and toe that you’ll still get to go to New Zealand!
    I also completely agree, we can’t go back to how things were before. This is a huge historical moment playing out right now, like a slow-motion explosion, that will have unimaginable consequences both big and small. It’s a huge moment of change, and I hope (probably naively) that things will change for the better after, in terms of society and how we treat one another, and the earth. All we can do right now, as Gandalf says (*wipes away tear*), is our best, and be there for each other as best as we can.
    Sending love and hugs ❤

    1. Awww, Meredith, thank you so, so much. ❤ ❤ That means the world to me!

      Yes, exactly!! There is no normal to return to, not after so much is blatantly wrong and needs to be addressed; not after we see how the world can function remotely, when that once wasn't accommodated. I am right there with you, hoping for the best, but preparing to fight against the worst.

      You're the best. ❤ All my love back to you!!

      1. Thank you Nicole, so, so appreciated. ❤ ❤ I love you tons, hope you and your loved ones are doing okay ❤ ❤ (and I'll be back full pen-pal-time for you as soon as the world settles down again, I promise <3)

      2. Right back at you, friend! ❤ And please, don't worry at all. I am ready and excited for your letter whenever you are ready, no rush whatsoever. ❤ ❤

  4. It must be so strange to be in isolation and working from home. Our country’s initiated lock-down, so only essential shops are open and going out is highly restricted, but as my partner works in food retail, and I’m doing an online MA from home, very little’s changed for us. We were super sick with similar symptoms in January, when the virus first arrived in the UK, and we’re wondering if we’ve already had it. Part of me hopes so, as at least he’d have a bit of immunity, being in contact with customers all day.

    Stay strong and positive, play as many video games as you like (we’re playing far more than usual in his days off!) and fingers crossed you get to go to New Zealand 🙂

    1. It is super strange! Part of me really likes working remotely, too! I think it’s just the fact that I am not supposed to leave and so I can’t go anywhere and just *waves arms around gesturing vaguely at the world* that complicates enjoying the perks of working from home.

      I hope you both are able to stay healthy and have built up some immunity, if you did have it!! Thank you, me too!! ❤

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