Opinion: There’s no returning back to normal after COVID-19

by Aaliyah Alexander, Staff Writer

By now, we are all familiar with the current pandemic that has affected millions of lives. COVID-19 is a change we were not expecting and it has been drawn out longer than anyone anticipated. As more new information about the virus circulates on the media, the more people become increasingly restless. 

People are longing to return back to “normal” life. The light at the end of the tunnel doesn’t seem so clear now. The promise of the return to normalcy is thrown around by our politicians and leaders leaving us with the impression that once this is all over we will have the life we knew before the pandemic, but this a promise that is not going to hold up.

We are far from returning back to the life we knew before the pandemic. Our society will be forever changed by this event. 

As businesses and venues begin to reopen, we see our new reality is staring us in the face. New precautionary measures such as social distancing in restaurants, limiting capacity at social venues and wearing face protection when doing day-to-day activities is a way of living that we will be seeing for a while. The way we’re used to interacting and greeting new people with handshakes and hugs will change, the way we operate within our workplaces with colleagues and customers will look different, the way schools and universities are structured and facilitate learning to students will shift and our Friday night outings to parties and get-togethers won’t be the same. 

In the beginning of the quarantine order, I was optimistic about the idea that within a few weeks the situation would sort itself out. I pictured the day in my mind — we would get the “okay” to go back outdoors and I would be able to resume normal activities as if nothing had happened. But the more the days turned into weeks and weeks into months, I noticed there was no way to come out of this the same way we, as a nation, entered it. 

This realization struck me when I listened to a podcast episode on the “Highest Self Podcast.” Host Sahara Rose and her interviewee Malaika Darville had a discussion on the doubts, heightened fears and the reality of the pandemic and how we can maximize this time given to cultivate ourselves in order to return to the new world we are about to experience. After highlighting the deadly virus that wiped out groups of indigenous people during the colonization era, Darville says our fate is similar to those of indigenous communities: a complete culture change. 

“Don’t think that we’re gonna like … if the thing, lockdown, is lifted tomorrow, life goes back to as it was.” Darville said, “This is a turning point. This is a big ass turning point in the human history collectively right now.” 

Although life as we know it will look drastically different once we, as a nation, discover how to combat this unfamiliar and foreign virus, I believe this is going to be a good change. It’s hard to accept that our “normal” way of doing things is not the status quo anymore, but that’s the thing about growth. It’s ugly at the beginning, harder in the middle and rewarding in the end. We will get to the other side as a new country. 

Aaliyah Alexander is a freshman studying journalism. Follow her on Twitter @aaliyahdanyell.

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