New “Normal” | Rebecca Danzig
As vaccines are rolling out across the country, and the world, people are reminded of COVID eventually coming to a close. This hectic chapter in our lives seemed to be never ending, but now we seem just a little bit closer to the light at the end of the tunnel. Children under 16 still have yet to get their fair share of the vaccinations, but for the rest of the population, including myself, are either waiting to get the vaccine or are fully vaccinated. With this chapter eventually closing in our lives, what is normal? We, as a collective group around the world, realize that we can never return to the original “normal” that we had pre-COVID. It makes us wonder what things will be different, or what things will stay the same when we reach our COVID finale.
One thing that is notable, is that most people now will respect personal space. Before COVID, everyone was always super close to one another. Clubs, concerts, even shuffling past one another in the grocery store, or just standing close by to a stranger in any public place. However, with the constant reinforcement of “six feet apart”, it may become a force of habit to keep our distance from strangers. Even though I am fully vaccinated, I still keep my personal space from others, even my close friends or family members, due to respect.
Another aspect that will change drastically is eventually being allowed to be in crowded spaces, like concerts or movie theaters. I know I’m not the only one who missed movie theaters — who craves sharing the common experience of laughing and crying in a room full of strangers, experiencing and enjoying the same film with one another. Don’t get me started on concerts, screaming and crying at your favorite artist with hundreds of thousands of people. Many people find themselves uncomfortable looking at videos and old clips of crowded areas, cringing at the lack of “social distancing”. With COVID ending, our minds will have to adjust to not needing social distance anymore. However, I doubt nobody would be sad at the reintroduction into normalcy, whatever it becomes.
Also, like east-Asian countries, like South Korea and Japan, we Americans have adopted face masks at all times, as well as overall being clean and polite. I assume that most people will ditch the masks as soon as it’s not required at all, but I also know that some people will be sticking with wearing face masks outside, due to preventing risks of colds or breathing in another virus such as COVID. These safety precautions will certainly be heightened in every society, not just here in America. I always respected the Eastern-Asian cleanliness in their culture, so it is bittersweet that we’ve adopted those behaviors, despite the situation it happened under.
With all of these new changes, it leaves us bewildered and anxious of what’s to come. All we can do is wait until that time arrives, and continue to move forward and adjust to the changes. Who knows what the new normal is, but I am sure that since we got through the tough spots of COVID and all its challenges, we can face the challenge of entering the new normal.