Dear Diary

The “New Normal”

Photo by Anna Shvets from Pexels

The one thing that the year 2020 has taught me is to never take things for granted.

It has been over 4 months since our Governor essentially shut down the state’s economy. Many things have been reopened, but with the loosening of restrictions have come a consistent upward trend in new cases — and the quarantine order on transpacific travelers has not been lifted and schools aren’t even open yet. From this perspective, it looks like there is no end in sight for Covid-19.

The Coronavirus pandemic has taken away so much of what we had once considered “normal.” Experts say that we should not expect things to return to the old normal, but we should learn to instead embrace a “new normal.” Clearly, this pandemic will be a problem that will not be going away anytime soon, so we will need to adapt.

But my heart longs for simpler, less perilous times when we didn’t have a feeling of dread whenever we are forced to leave the safety of our home, donned in masks and armed with hand sanitizer. A time when I didn’t need to be constantly on guard and consider everyone, including myself, to be a potential carrier of the virus and act accordingly. A time when gathering in large groups of friends and family was not a criminal act and showing aloha meant greeting someone with a big, warm hug, rather than keeping a 6′ distance.

This pandemic is so isolating. What effect it will have on this generation? Will we grow accustomed to being socially detached from one another? Will the closeness and warmth we once had for each other be another casualty of Covid-19?

Concurrently, the unrest and division in our country trouble me. When I read the headlines, I often wonder if the world has lost its collective mind. There just seems to be no limit to the insanity. Uncertainty has become a way of life.

Although outwardly, I don’t necessarily feel anxious about these things, it has had an impact on my body. Since March, I have significantly more grey hair. I have also put on a decent amount of weight, bringing me just 1 pound away from my pregnancy weight. I was also waking up to heart palpitations in the middle of the night which caused me to do a cardiac workup. (Thankfully, the cardiologist said my EKG and Echocardiogram were both normal.) 2020 has aged me exponentially.

On the flip side, I have found that getting outdoors has helped lift my spirits significantly. When we are hiking or at the beach, I allow myself to forget the problems that plague the world. I am able to capture a piece of the “old normal” and hold it in my hands, at least for a little while.

When I grow weary of worrying, I also remind myself of this verse in the Bible:

“Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done. Then you will experience God’s peace, which exceeds anything we can understand. His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus.”

— Philippians 4:6-7

I plan to spend more time outdoors and more time in the Bible and in prayer. That is my antidote to anxiety. I am also counting my blessings and not taking anything for granted, no matter how mundane or ordinary it may seem.

How are you coping with the “new normal?”

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