The New Normal

The new normal… these three little words have become so much more to me than just words and I am sure the majority of the rest of the world now feels this way as well. The new normal, the new life that we must adapt to, reconcile with and eventually accept. The way of life that will become exactly what we remember as normal. I struggled with this term the first time I heard it, long before COVID-19.

I heard neurologists, psychologists, neurosurgeons, nurses, speech and occupational therapists utter it day in and day out to me, as if the more they said it the more I was just going to wake up and say right the new normal got it, this is it, put me in coach. I sympathized with them as I do now when I hear the CDC, WHO, governors and doctors say it, but i think it takes time to actually accept a new normal. Think about it whatever we deemed as normal previously took years to accept at different phases of life before it became what we deemed normal. As a child you think normal is playing with your parents or caretakers all day, then it is school for the better part of two decades or more and then it is work or whatever you decide to make out of adulthood, none of that becomes normal overnight. You adapt and adjust. For me after Matt had his stroke it was very, very apparent that the life he had known before his stroke was over and that my life was forever changed as well. I was not sitting there thinking wow I think we will get out of this hospital and go mountain biking, followed by a brewery tour and a concert. I was thinking one foot in front of the other day by day and that is how I am taking the COVID-19 situation, much as I took Matt’s stroke.

COVID-19 is awful. It is a terrible disease that is destroying lives. Matt’s stroke was a terrible thing that happened to him. The thing they have in common is that they both in their own earth shattering to the core ways illustrate one thing. Life as we were living it was not sustainable.

Everyone can pretend that everything was fine previous to COVID-19 and blame the virus, China, the president, Italy, the government, biological warfare, spring breakers whomever or whatever they want, but the truth is that we were living in a very messed up world. Many of us talked about the issues or even about fixing them, but very few did anything about it. There was far too much hate and far too little love and compassion and absolutely no one making CHANGE happen. We saw the world literally melting and burning because of our actions and this virus that is now overrunning humanity started because of US. Every single one of us encroaching upon more and more land for people with little to no thought about the wild animals living there, where they would go and what the ramifications of that would be. Rather than studying bats to learn what their immune systems have that ours do not we have penalized them for roaming. Humans have to stop thinking that we can do whatever we want to nature and not suffer any consequences. We need to learn how to live with nature and learn from her to help humanity evolve.

This virus has shown how the US has put profits over people and the economy over health. There can be no profitable economy if there is no health. We cannot brag of being a “developed” nation when in the midst of a pandemic many people still fear getting tested for COVID-19 because while that test will be free, the hospital stay and any medications given or tried will not be or even worse yet that they will not be paid for any time off needed to recover. As Americans we need to rethink everything about our nation starting with healthcare, this virus has proven that the life we were living is not sustainable anymore. The world has changed it is time our country did as well.

If there is anything this virus has taught me it is reiterating how short life is, the people that really matter in my life and that fundamentally human beings are good. Amiss the terror I have seen cities worldwide salute medical workers, trash men, janitors, grocery store workers and others on the front line. I have seen strangers offer to buy groceries for those worse off than themselves, I have seen young people offering to shop for older people to help mitigate their risk and I have seen everyday people that never once dreamed of being on the frontline of a pandemic show up tirelessly to jobs that at least in America we have undervalued, respected and paid. I hope and pray that in the months and years that we will spend recovering and resolving what a new normal is that we never forget the ultimate good in humanity and evolve to make the US and world a better, safer, healthier, happier place for all.

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