Accepting the New Normal

By: Morgan Peace

I’m quite unsure as to how long the pandemic will last. At first, I thought it would just last a few
weeks, then months, but now, I’m not sure.
One thing I am sure of is, although I should remain cautious, I should actively choose to no
longer live in fear.
For a while, I was in a heightened state of anxiousness due to fear. But, if this pandemic truly
has ushered in a new normal, I must form a sort of routine, some sort of semblance of normalcy.
For the past few months, I’ve been in a state of waiting, not taking full responsibility for my
productivity or lack thereof because these are not normal circumstances and many people have
been stressing the importance of taking this time to rest.
I thought that was what I was doing, but the truth is I wasn’t resting to recharge or to grow. I was
resting because I didn’t really have much else on my to-do list. Correction: No one else was
placing much else on my to-do list anymore.
I’ve realized I’ve never really needed a sense of agency before because the societal systems,
structures and expectations that are in place lead me up to this point, up to college graduation.
For me, this period of time is not just a pandemic. This period of time is a transition from the first
22 years of my life, where I knew what I was doing and when I was doing it because authority
figures presented those dates and times to me, to now, knowing that I’m the one setting dates
and times for what to do and when to do it. However, when the world feels like it has paused, it’s
a bit more difficult to feel like I’m not running on a treadmill when I choose to set my own dates
and times, especially when I could just be binge watching Netflix.
I’m 23 years old. I recently graduated from college. I’m blessed to be at a place in life that only
seems to happen once, in our society. I’ve arrived at my clean slate. I don’t have any concrete
plans ahead of me and it’s beautiful.
I keep thinking the pandemic has kind of put my twenties on pause, but the truth of the matter is
I’m still aging. My twenties haven’t been paused just because the plans that I had for myself
have been put on hold. So, I’ll pivot.
I won’t allow myself to think the pandemic has ruined the fun, freedom and care-free nature of
my early twenties because, the truth is, it would have been quite uncharacteristic of me to do all
of the spontaneous things I had dreamt about doing, even if the pandemic hadn’t happened.

What the pandemic has done is it has shown me just how much I took for granted in my longing
to be somewhere in the future...in my longing to be here in the future. While I had no way of
knowing “here in the future” would involve the current state of our world, I’ve learned not to long
for the future while neglecting the present.
I now long for the present moment. I now appreciate my blessings as they come, where I am
now. I am now working on developing a healthy routine that utilizes the resources I have at my
disposal because for me to take them for granted, expecting the future to hold everything I have
now and more would be quite naive.