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Return To Normal

By Tamara Warry

With restrictions slowly easing, there seems to be a mix of emotions about life returning to 'normal'. Tapping elbows, waving from afar and zero physical contact with our loved ones; will the human race ever return to what we once were?

It makes me wonder what impact all this chaos has had on us? Kept us safe-yes! But, how will it affect us in the short and long term? Has it turned us all into germaphobes, or has it made us more hygiene aware and taught us to work together to make the future brighter?

A friend of mine had to visit Woolworths recently, with her kids in tow. And before you ask, no, this was not by choice; who on earth would ever choose food shop and children? While in the supermarket, she was horrified when her 4-year-old was suddenly scolded and told to 'BACK OFF!' by a masked lady also doing her grocery shopping. Apparently, the poor little lad had unknowingly entered the woman's 1.5-meter boundary, as kids do.

Well, let me tell you, my friend's inner Mumma bear came out of the woods that day, and she was angry. Who yells at a 4-year-old child for something they can't possibly understand? It made her wonder if the pandemic has changed us for the worse. Has it stolen our kindness and consideration for our fellow humans? For some, it seems to have kindled an anxiety-induced reaction that can flare up at a moments notice; one they had never experienced, pre-COVID-19.

It's a trying time for us all, one that has left everyone feeling a little out of sorts while we learn how to process with the new world around us. We all deal with change differently, right?

When discussing life post-COVID-19 with friends, I've had many different reactions. Some are jumping out of their onesies, dying to have that social drink with mates. Others have their trainers on ready to race through the gym doors and secure that preferred spin bike! Many just want their busy lives back again, fast-paced chaos and all!

One common thread is a feeling of anxiety, a nervousness about returning to our regular duties as adults. A slower, quieter pace to life has allowed us to relax, enjoy hobbies, and even discover new interests. No crazy social schedule, no school sports; hell, just the thought of parking on a Saturday with every other soccer Mum makes me feel stressed.

No matter what way you go about it, the return to 'normal' is bound to stir up a concoction of emotions and most certainly will require time to readjust. For me, I feel that all we can do is take it slow and maybe even reflect on how our outlooks are evolving. What have I learnt in experiencing isolation, and how can I take that with me into my new normal?

The best part is that we get to say hi up close again. We get to hug when we really need it and feel that close physical connection that we have all discovered is a vital part of our mental health. We get to go outdoors and feel unlimited amounts of sunshine on our skin and make sweet memories again with those we love.

So for now, take the transition at your own pace, be gentle on yourself. And remember- there is no right or wrong way to feel. This is a first for us all!


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