The New Normal? No It's Just A Phase

"The New Normal". It’s a strange phrase isn’t it? I’m hearing it everywhere at the moment, but nothing about this is normal. I guess it’s being used to subtly reinforce the idea that measures in place like social distancing are going to be around for a long time to come, but it's the inference of permanence I don’t like. The suggestion that life will never resemble what it did before is a sobering thought and I don’t think it’s true.  I'm under no illusion that the virus will suddenly vanish. Yes there is grieving for what we have lost, yes there will be businesses which never reopen and yes some habits may permanently change, but do I think people will be wearing face masks forever? Keeping a distance from others? Constantly using hand gel? No.

Sitting on a village green eating McDonalds after they reopened post Covid 19 lockdown
Enjoying "the new normal" of McDonalds being open

There have been pandemics before, they may not have spread as widely due to more limited travel, but they happened. People get bored, people move on, I can see it happening already. The number of people ignoring social distancing, the amount of socialising even when lockdown was in full swing; people in the UK don’t like to be told what to do. The Government recognises this as well which is why they are relaxing measures just like many other countries all over the world, the difference is their infection rates are much lower than ours. Clearly us Brits aren’t going to let something like that bother us though.

It scares me that back in March we were shocked as a country when UK COVID 19 deaths reached over 100 a day and people demanded action. The daily death toll at it's peak was more than 1000 and it appears we have become so desensitised that only a few 100 Coronavirus deaths each day is seen as good news.

A month or so into lockdown my middle daughter said she couldn’t wait to be able to have a McDonalds, go to the zoo and stay at her grandparents. None of these will be quite the same for a while, but June has meant she has finally been able to see her grandparents again (in a socially distanced way), we have had a McDonald’s drive thru and our favourite zoo reopens this week. I would love to visit the zoo, but will it be the same with much of it closed or will it feel as stressful as a trip to the supermarket does at the moment?

It’s Just A Phase

One of the thoughts that has got me through many days with my young children over the last 9 years is “it’s a phase”. Whether it is a sudden increase in night wakings, biting or throwing themselves down on the floor in supermarkets I have repeated “it’s just a phase” as a mantra. I know that as tough as some days can be they wont last forever and things will get better. These optimistic words seem like much better ones to apply to the Coronavirus than anything suggesting normality.

It doesn’t take long for all the challenges of just a few weeks ago to be forgotten; only last month I wasn’t allowed to go for a run and take my children out for a walk on the same day. When we went out for "daily exercise" as a family we were encouraged not to drive anywhere and to be out for less than an hour so I spent the time clock watching and trying to hurry my children along. Now we can go for as many walks as we want. Am I appreciating this new freedom? Yes, but I’m not thinking “yay I’ve been able to go out twice today” I’m just doing it, I have moved on already.

Time passes, hard times are forgotten, we adapt to change and the world keeps turning. This is normal, anything else? It’s just a phase.

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