The New Normal

It feels absurd to be writing this post from the reality that is now. Just four weeks ago I was on holiday in Thailand enjoying time with my family. At the time the coronavirus was a faraway though. Fast forward to today and the coronavirus pandemic on everyone’s doorstep.

If someone had told me a month ago that my contacts all over the world would be practicing social distancing and avoiding going out in public spaces, I would have guffawed at the thought. But now, it’s our new normal. My calendar is empty for probably the first time in my life. I haven’t met anyone but my family for a week. A new kind of worry has emerged for our kid’s grandparents. When I read books where people meet up with their friends, I find myself thinking that their behaviour is careless and wrong.

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Here in Finland kindergartens and grades 1-3 are still open but parents are urged to keep their children home if possible. Higher grades and other educational institutions have switched to online learning in lightning speed. As I write this, restaurants remain open but libraries, swimming halls and events have been closed or cancelled. Skiing resorts are closing voluntarily. Those who can, are asked to do their work from home. Gatherings or meetings of over ten people are forbidden.

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Personally, I feel that the restrictions we have at the moment are not clear enough. Finland is not in lockdown mode yet and the government is giving people’s decisions a lot of faith. We are supposed to stay one meter away from each other but families are still frequenting the parks for play dates, sleepovers are being planned, teens hang out in large groups, elderly people enjoy coffees and company at the crowded beach cafes… Finns even flocked to the Nuuksio National Park in such numbers that the government authority in charge of the parks and forests had to make an announcement! Citizens were instructed to keep to the forests near their homes as it was impossible to keep a safe distance to others in the crowds at the National Park.

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It’s scary what implications all this will have on our country, not to say the world. One week in, and businesses are already having to lay off people temporarily to try to avoid bankruptcy. How long will this go on for? Here, the restrictions are in place till the 13th of April (as of now) but for example, Estonia’s state of emergency is on till the 1st of May.

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My family is doing fine in this situation and I certainly do not have anything to complain about. However, I worry for the people in our society, who were struggling even before this. Imagine a child who depended on school for a warm meal. Or those families who were at a breaking point but the support a kindergarten placement gave them was what kept them together and sane. The problems that can arise from services closing can be monumental. How many people will lose their jobs and incomes? What consequences will that have? The worries just go on.

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I have tried my best to adjust my behaviour to stop the spread of the virus. I wash my hands carefully. I have intentionally limited all my social contacts to my immediate family. I am working from home but my employer has not ordered us to do so, which means I might have to go to the office sometime soon. If that happens, I will go by car and avoid public transport. I aim to do most of my grocery shopping online. I help my mother with her shopping so she doesn’t have to visit the supermarket. Even though it’s not ideal, I don’t visit my mother or father-in-law in their homes to avoid any risk of contagion (for him/her).

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Thankfully we are still allowed to go outside to exercise and I have been going for long walks to the forest or beach. Now that my calendar is totally empty, I can concentrate on things that need my attention at home, like gardening, vacuuming the car and so on.

In this new light, the worries I had a month ago feel quite minimal. My current job contract ends in June and I was very stressed about securing a new job by May. Now recruiting has shut down almost entirely and people are losing the jobs that they had. This means that the numbers of applicants will skyrocket for any open position. Somehow it doesn’t feel so important anymore. If the situation gets dire, I still have the option of falling back on my first profession of an early childhood/preschool teacher.

I’m sure you’ve all come across this beautiful and hopeful poem:

And the people stayed home. And read books, and listened, and rested, and exercised, and made art, and played games, and learned new ways of being, and were still. And listened more deeply. Some meditated, some prayed, some danced. Some met their shadows. And the people began to think differently.

And the people healed. And, in the absence of people living in ignorant, dangerous, mindless, and heartless ways, the earth began to heal.

And when the danger passed, and the people joined together again, they grieved their losses, and made new choices, and dreamed new images, and created new ways to live and heal the earth fully, as they had been healed. 

– Kitty O’Meara

How are you and your family? What is the situation like at your end? Let me know. ❤

❤ Thank you to all the health care workers who are fighting the pandemic in the front lines and all those people who make our society work in this difficult time ❤

Love to all, stay safe and stay home. ❤

xx


14 thoughts on “The New Normal

  1. Hello from Columbus, Ohio. A “shelter-in-place” order went out from the governor today, to start tomorrow night. As for me and my household, we decided to hunker down starting last week, and, when the sun is out and it’s not too chilly, it even feels manageable. We’re keeping distance, lots of things have been shut down; more things will be now.

    I keep thinking about the first and second World Wars and how people lived then. They hunkered down, made do, did without, and created a lot. They got through it. It passed, and so shall this.

    Like

  2. Hello from Toronto. We have a virtual lock down here too – all restaurants, bars, schools, universities & colleges are closed and everyone is being asked to work from home and practice extreme social distancing. We’re not quite at the point where there’s policing of people (like in Italy & France) but there’s talk that there will be, if necessary.

    On the Good News front, people have been quickly taking prerogative to re-purpose their manufacturing & help: a couple small scale distilleries suspended their brewing batches & re-purposed their lines to make hand sanitizers for free, for local hospital and healthcare.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. It puts everything in a different perspective, right?
    Here in France, it is day 7 or lockdown. But some people still try to live a carefree normal life and behave selfishly so the police is now everywhere to check your reason to be out and give away fines if necessary. They’re talking about possible curfews now…
    We’re living in a Hollywood movie right now…

    Take care of you.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hello dear ❤️ It is amazing how people all over the world still continue to behave so selfishly. It’s not as if we are happy to change our lives in this manner but it is simply what we must do now. It’s scary that some people need fines or police before they start living by the new rules. 😬 You’re right, our new normal really is like a Hollywood movie. Take care! 🙏

      Liked by 1 person

  4. We could at least go to the park last week, now we are bound to stay home, schools are closed for two weeks now, I work from home but many business just close down… It’s surreal… Stay safe, Suvi!!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi Alexandra ❤️ That’s terrible that you can’t go to the park, I hope we are able to avoid such drastic measures and you will be given freedom of movement back soon. And mostly that these restrictions actually make a difference 🙏 It’s horrifying watching the businesses struggle. Some restaurants here are doing ok because they have (or have started) home delivery. Take care ❤️

      Liked by 1 person

  5. We’ve been in lockdown for a week and a curfew has now been 8ntroduced. Petrol stations, pharmacies, supermarkets, bread shops, butchers, fish shops and green grocers are open, everything else is shut. We have to self-certify if we need to go out shopping and can only go singly. We fortunately live in an apartment in sumptuous grounds which we can walk/run around. Otherwise we can only exercise by walking/running within 2km of home. Sadly we can no longer go out cycling but we ride on the balcony on our home trainer. We’ve always worked from home so that’s no different. France has introduced a lot of safeguards for individuals and companies though I don’t think we’ll need them but it’s good to know that there’s help for most. We’ve been staying in touch with everyone via Skype, WhatsApp, zoom, etc particularly those on their own. I don’t think I’ve ever washed my hands so much, I use disposable latex gloves every time I leave the flat and practise maintaining my distance. We’re trying to use the additional time wisely. It’s going to be tough on everyone.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi Sheree ❤️ Thank you for commenting, sounds like the restrictions are very drastic there. Lucky that you can walk, run and bike 🙏 It’s important to do some exercise at times like these. Compared to what the situation would have been 20 years a go, we thankfully have online tools to keep in touch with everyone all over the world. 🙏 I Skype my mother who actually lives a 15 min car ride from me but we can’t meet at this time. My hands are so dry from the combination of all the hand washing and the cold winter air, but we must keep at it. Take care dear ❤️

      Liked by 1 person

  6. I’m waving to you from Baltimore—of course I washed my hands first. We too have been social distancing for about a week here. One of the things that has kept me humming along has been my friends all over the internet. Stay well, my friend. And thank you for that beautiful poem. It made the afternoon brighter.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Hello Mary ❤️ I am happy to hear the poem resonated with you, I fell in love with it when I first saw a glimpse of the text. I have too been chatting, calling and texting all over the Internet, it’s great to have good friends all supporting each other and exchanging experiences 🙏 Stay well and take care dear ❤️

      Liked by 1 person

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