For almost three years we carried with us the burden of attempting to maintain normalcy. It was weird, it felt like I was in some sort of dome, but everyday I’d embark on a walk around four blocks of my neighborhood. They were a way to cope with the impermanence of the entire world (Buddhists were right). The ‘Covidity’ of the entire world. Just the word is gross. It ignites a feeling of medical masks, fear, and crazy things we would do to keep sane. I became too interested in Harry Potter. My friends said weird tik tok phrases that people gag thinking about now. We were all so cringey- but we were all so uncomfortable. I now look at how many people died at the hands of Covid19, knew someone who had died, or been locked away from their families, and feel almost guilty that my sympathy had all but shut off from my lack of connectivity. It was numbing. I have so many complaints about Covid19, so much baggage to carry in my mind, so many harmful, intrusive thoughts that are so very valid but don’t feel that way because everything else in the world was so so so much worse. I don’t need to share a statistic with you, or remind you of how many people in your community are or were infected, these numbers are blasted towards you everyday without consent. However, I will tell you that what you have experienced for the past three years can medically be labeled as a trauma. The mental health effects can linger for several years after the pandemic which is debatably not over, and the pain, guilt, fear that you might feel daily is normal- the ‘new’ normal (I also think that phrase is very cringey but unfortunately I agree with it). My newest normal was a walk around four blocks of Bala Cynwyd that somehow made the bleakness of the world a bit less gray.
I always thought that everything would go back to normal, that at one point there would be some defining moment that the world said, “there. Okay. It’s over.” It is only now that I think it will never be the ‘normal’ it once was. The state of the world has shifted, whether it is in respect to the economy, public health system, pop culture (rip Pete and Kim), media, Oxford English Dictionary definitions, everything has been stained by Covid. But maybe one day it just won’t hurt so bad. And maybe there won’t be one definable moment where everything changes, but gradually, slowly, inch by inch, you won’t walk four blocks. You’ll walk five.
photo credit: www.usatoday.com