The New Normal

modigliani with mask

It has been over a month since we have been isolated in our home, avoiding all social contact, leaving only to go to the supermarket or drug store. While my days have the feeling of ‘groundhog day’, I can not say I am overly bothered by it. In some ways, I like this slower pace. I am someone who usually fills up my day with plans and appointments, generally too busy to take a breath. Being home has let me resume writing this blog and to experience life at a slower pace. But boredom is beginning to set in.

I am reading a lot, mostly newspapers, economic forecasts, or coronavirus related web sites. I am watching the news and streaming TV most nights, but I was doing that before the pandemic hit. My husband and I are trying to do our daily walk, which is a two-mile circuit through our neighborhood and adjoining park. I miss my weekly trips to the gym and feel I am not staying in shape like I should.

Life has taken on a sameness. The events meant to be the high points of our year, all planned months in advance, have been canceled or soon will be. Our wedding, planned for a beautiful nature sanctuary and mansion for later this month, has been canceled.  In its place, we are planning a virtual wedding ceremony for the same day.  Our mini honeymoon, which we were calling a minimoon, an extended weekend trip to a beautiful rustic spot in Virginia, has been canceled.

Our summer trip to Spain will likely be canceled. Even if the USA and Spain lift travel restrictions by July, we are not sure we want to make the trip while the coronavirus still out there. I do not want to find myself sick in a foreign country.

Two weeks ago, after our governor ordered the state to shelter in place, so we rushed to be married, afraid we would not be able to do so on the day of our virtual wedding ceremony.

Now that my partner and I have already gotten married, I am less excited about our virtual wedding two weeks from tomorrow. I still think it will be fun, but the thrill of getting married in front of friends and family has lessened. However, we have already invited over a hundred people to watch our wedding on YouTube Live, so the show must go on.

There is talk in today’s paper of the President wanting the country open by May. Even if the state does reopen in May, I plan to stay in isolation for a more extended period. Until we are sure that there is not a rapid resurgence of the virus, and that we have enough gloves, masks, personal protective equipment, and ventilators, I do not want to risk getting sick. I would instead limit my interactions with people and wait for a vaccine or treatment before risking getting sick. While I think I am a healthy sixty-two-year-old, with well-controlled diabetes, why take the risk of an illness that could kill you?

I did not mean to make this essay into a downer. I am grateful that I have enough money saved to weather this storm and that my husband is still working. I am thankful that we both are healthy and live in a place that gives us some physical space from other people. Our life is good. We eat fantastic dinners since we are both home to cook each night. But it will be good when life returns to normal, or at least we get to a new normal.

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