Over the past few weeks a new term has crept into our lexicon and has since completely taken over most conversations about a post-corona virus world. No, I am not talking about social distancing, travel bans, or work from home. I am talking about the overarching term that encompasses all of these terms: the new normal. The new normal describes what people anticipate the world to be like once we have found a cure or vaccine for Covid-19. As mentioned in a different post, I am self-labeled “news junkie” and I am often checking multiple times a day for anything useful and new that I can professionally or personally utilize for the good. With the past few days of getting good news that one company is close to developing a vaccine the news has shifted from the spread and reach of the virus to how will life be different in the coming days, weeks, months and maybe even years. Initially I was very bullish on this type of reporting. I was happy to see discussion of airlines having more full flights, restaurants opening for sitting, and sports teams starting to go back to their training facilities and possibly even finishing the seasons that came to an abrupt halt a few months ago. As time passed I became slightly jaded with the term and in my heart I wished for the old normal that let me walk the streets care-free feeling impervious to an invisible force that held our lives hostage for the past three months. But over the past few days my anticipation for the new normal is high once again but not in the way you think. My vision of the new normal is one that is anchored by a more important perspective on wellness, a focus on technological innovation and implementation, and most importantly a renewed sense of humanity.
The idea of wellness is one that we have broadcasted in front of us daily. Companies like Lululemon and Peleton spend millions of dollars on encouraging us to exercise but more importantly to look good doing it. Since Covid-19 hit us, there has been a more grassroots effort of wellness. This new initiative focuses more on more core aspects of public health like hand washing, covering one's mouth when coughing or sneezing, and not touching your eyes. These are very simple tools in our wellness world but they have been underutilized prior to this virus. I am hopeful that we have learned hygiene lessons that we can use well after this pandemic is over.
I am a self-described tech geek. I love the newest gadget and tech that comes out (I am partial to Apple products) and I am always looking to try the latest innovation to add productivity and convenience to my professional or personal life. One of the latent benefits of the virus has been the ability for companies, houses of worship, schools, and families to pivot and learn how to employ available technology to help stay connected with one another. Everyone has a favorite but Zoom has transcended from being a product a verb synonymous with web-conferencing. Schools have moved fully remotely during lockdown and after a bumpy adjustment period, both sides are reporting that they have been able to acclimate to what was previously a totally foreign medium. This new mindset of being open to distance learning further legitimizes fully online university degrees and can also bring education to children in more remote areas where a traditional classroom setting has not been a viable option. Just think, in twenty years our children can be learning about Covid-19 from their own homes instead of a classroom.
My last new normal I look forward to is maintaining this strengthened humanity. In this context humanity means the kind feelings humans often have for each other. I have seen such a heightened level of humanity during the past three months that I don't know where to begin. A few quick examples are neighbors in apartment complexes shopping for another, people donating meals to front line workers in hospitals as a small token of thanks (which I am proud to say Rockaway Home Care has done the same), and businesses sponsoring PPE for those that can’t afford it. These gestures are so significant and meaningful during the times when the world is at its darkest and most challenging. When we act kind and think of others when we ourselves are suffering, the impact is so much deeper and real. The pandemic has brought out the good of people who may have not have had the time or opportunity to act generously before. Unfortunately, all of us know someone negatively impacted by this virus. We have responded in the purest of ways but we should make sure that these feelings don't dissipate once our lockdown is over. We owe it to ourselves to inculcate this lesson and tattoo it onto our hearts forever to make these last few tragic months not have been in vain.
I am not a fortune teller and I am not a philosopher. I don’t know what the new normal will really mean once we are cleared to resume normal activities. I do know that while this virus has left us battered and saddened, it has also paved the way for a better tomorrow. It is up to us to make sure we make those opportunities realities.