I understand that we all want to go back to normal. I realize that looking around seeing all the disruptions to our old routines is painful. I realize that we’re all anxious and depressed and scared and we think that going back to normal will make it all better.
That’s a fantasy.
It’s not going to happen, and the sooner we all recognize and accept that fact, the better. There will be a new normal someday, but not for a long time yet.
Not for very many months, maybe years.
Certainly not weeks or next month, or even August.
Even if we all go back to work, even if we send our children back to school, we’ll all be wearing masks and distancing and washing our hands a zillion times a day and foot tapping instead of shaking hands and working remotely until we either have a vaccine or until the virus has infected everyone it’s going to infect.
And from what I’m reading, there’s no guarantee that we’ll get a vaccine at all, never mind one in six or 12 or 18 months. There’s also no guarantee that our immune systems will make us permanently immune to the virus so we can’t be reinfected in a month or year or two. Some viruses just don’t work that way, and COVID-19 may be one of them.
We will reach a new normal eventually. Whatever that new normal will be, it’s so deep in a fog that it’s impossible to even make out a vague shape right now. We have too much of the present and the near future to live through first.
The new normal is unrecognizable, maybe even unimaginable. Yet once we have arrived there, the past will be unrecognizable too, even though we lived through it.
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