4 Random Things: Anniversaries and What’s Normal Now

This blog and I both observed birthdays this month. They’re our second consecutive pandemic-era anniversaries, and it’s looking like maybe we will not three-pear. The 3 R’s Blog turned 14 on March 16. I have some hope that I can do better by it in its fifteenth year than I did in the one that just ended. And I marked another trip around the sun yesterday, March 29. I’m not going to divulge the number, but you’ll get a hint of it in Thursday’s post. And with that said…

“New Normal” Isn’t So New

Just about a year ago, I asked: “What’s your normal now?”

“(I)t’s a whole new world. And not the kind Aladdin and Jasmine sang about. More like the “turned upside down” one referenced in Hamilton.

Are you sticking close to home…as if you really have much choice in the matter?

(And has your favorite store run out of toilet paper?)”

(I didn’t post here again until nine months later. I don’t really want to go back to THAT “normal” at all.)

In some ways, my “normal” looks pretty similar to what it was becoming a year ago. I rarely leave the house except for my one day a week in the office, grocery shopping, and dog-walking. I’ll be vaccine-eligible this week, and that news feels like a birthday gifft. But with that change on the way, I probably should be embarrassed to admit how much thhis “normal” has not bothered me. Right now, I’m more bothered by the prospect of giving it up before too lomg I think that may be something like “normal “these days too, though:

“Here’s where I remind you that we have endured nearly a year — a year! — of sustained, slow-motion collective trauma. Some days might not have felt recognizable as such, but our brains are very adept at flattening trauma, day-by-day, hour-by-hour, into something survivable. We have borne witness, in some way, to deaths in our close community, in our homes, in our online circles, in our kids’ schools — to half a million American deaths and 2.56 million deaths globally. We have lived with some level of fear, for ourselves and for those we cherish, for a year.”

Anne Helen Petersen

Some “New Normal” is just what’s normal now…

On a more somber note, an anniversary was missed this month. My father died in an assisted-living home on the second day of 2021. He was 91, and would have turned 92 on March 23. He wasn’t a COVID casualty—that is, he didn’t have the virus when he died—but in a way, he was. And the fact that we remain unable to engage in the rituals of remembrance and comfort that usually follow such a loss compounds it.

This is a part of my “normal” that no vaccine or re-opening or lifting of restrictions will change.

And now for something much more like normal:

I have already finished 10 books this year. That’s a pace I’d love to keep up. It feels like an older “normal” that I’d be happy to make new again.

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When the lockdown began, my husband and I started sharing a work-from-home space. We still have the space, but since last October, only one of has used it for remote work. We know we’re fortunate to have my continued full-time employment and some savings, as the job hut has been disappointing so far. However, this time has given him the chance to flex his artistic muscles in new ways. He’s been creating some great designs for T-shirts, water bottles, phone cases and home products—you can find them all for sale at his Redbubble shop.

And how is your normal these days?

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  1. Happy Birthday (again) and anniversary for the blog! I agree that this pandemic has changed what our normal is and what it means to celebrate, memorialize, etc. I am going to hop over to the Redbubble site!

  2. The new normal hasn’t bothered me all that much either. I would like to not wear a mask, though. My shingles shot messed up my eligibility for the COVID vaccine. I could have gotten it a long time ago since I am in education but had to wait. I am scheduled now for 4/6.

    I have eaten at a restaurant three times now, all inside but no one else was there oddly enough and employees were vaccinated. I do miss eating out regularly and watching big blockbuster type movies in a theatre. Besides that, not much has changed. I am still working from home and do not miss that commute at all.

    However, this whole thing really affected my daughter, a senior in high school who practically missed her entire senior year. She just went back yesterday. It really affected her college audition process too. So many deferred from last year that college wait lists were crazy long.

    1. My nephew is a high-school senior and it’s been weird for him too. I followed a lot of your daughter’s audition process on FB, but didn’t know about the impact from last year.

      My husband misses movie theaters more than I do, but we’ll both be fully vaccinated by early May (new development since I posted this )–now we just need to see if “summer movie season” brings anything worth seeing in a theater!

  3. Happy birthday and blogiversary. Mourning during these times has been too hard for many and I am sorry you haven’t had that chance to mourn normally. I’ve been a remote worker since my daughter was born because honestly we couldn’t afford day care if I did still work at the office. It’s been a good 10 years, so I was ready for the isolation. I have tools at my disposal that keep me in touch with the office and my work hasn’t suffered. I feel for those who have lost jobs and had to make a choice between caring for kids and schooling at home and not working. It just shows you how much is messed up with our government/social systems. I digress.

    Reading is mostly poetry for me, so I can’t say that has been normal. I am not vaccine eligible until late April. I cannot wait.

    1. I’m actually hoping my next 10 years of work–or maybe less, since I am getting that old–will be mostly remote, since the pandemic showed that was possible.

      The dysfunction of our government/social support system is a topic WAY too big for this here blog ?.