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Illustration Courtesy of Luna Lopez.

Untethered from the Pandemic: discarding the new normal?

Where do we stand in terms of adjusting back to life? What changes have occurred over the past two years and how have we adjusted to them? An overview of where the pandemic is to the backdrop of a world that seems to be going back to normal.

Nov 28, 2021

It’s been almost 2 years — 1 year and 8 months to be exact — since the WHO declared Covid-19 a pandemic. The global outbreak came sudden as a snap. For myself and almost everyone around me, it felt surreal to exist in this new reality. Not only did we have to wrap our heads around the circumstance itself, but also had to adjust to the sudden changes that had to be implemented in our lifestyles. Adjusting back to life as it was pre-pandemic, while still living the reality of a pandemic, might be easy for some people. But it does not occur naturally to everyone.
2020 and 2021 have been a time of loss, deterioration, confusion, hardship, despair, but most of all, growth. Take a step back in time and think of yourself before the beginning of the pandemic. It might have been a time that completely shattered the hopes and dreams you had your heart set on. Contrarily, it could also have been a time that allowed for the actualization of dreams you didn’t know you had.
At first, I found it incredibly challenging to be suddenly cut off from any sense of physicality. I underwent a transition from high school to university heavily impacted by everything being conducted remotely. Reverting back to in-person functioning felt like a massive change all over again, this time intensified.
At times it was difficult to cope with the potent mix of conflicting emotions that I would get caught in. I would swing between feeling frustrated, content, confused, fulfilled, anxious and lonely, but above all, I felt extremely grateful. With time, I gained more clarity on my perspective and it became much easier to navigate through my days and find the good within the depths of the bigger picture.
Messiness aside, it was also a time that allowed me to flourish. I am thankful to have been able to pursue things that I love, discover new passions that give me genuine happiness, grow closer to the people I love through creating entirely new depths to our bonds and get to know incredible people who have had a significant impact on my life. Every single experience has shaped me in a unique way and in the greater scheme of things, they’ve all given me an opportunity to grow. For that, I am eternally grateful.
Regardless of what you might have endured, you need to realize that a profound underlying purpose lies within every occurrence you have been faced with.
The changes brought by the pandemic have become what many of us call “the new normal” — the new lifestyle introduced through the pandemic, which is fading away by the day. Can you picture yourself stepping out of your place of residence bare-faced and going about your daily life completely free from any thought of contamination? If asked six months earlier, I would’ve responded by saying that the mere thought of doing so was absurd. However, when reflecting on the idea now, it doesn’t seem so crazy. Over the past few months, restrictions around Covid-19 have been gradually easing as the Covid-19 vaccination rate has [been rising] (
We are slowly and steadily shifting into a lifestyle that is no longer centered around a barbaric virus. Loved ones have been able to reunite, travel is once again feasible, digitized settings have returned to their physical origins and being in social settings is no longer an idealized version of reality. Many of us have been fortunate enough to be able to once again experience life free from the pandemic. The changes that have allowed us to return to our previous ways of life may even cause us to forget that we are still living in the midst of a pandemic.
Even if the necessity of the changes to our lives is no longer present, we still haven’t left our pandemic lifestyle fully behind. And we are still learning and grappling with the changes it created within us. While this shift may come naturally to many, it is not the case for everyone. We’ve grown accustomed to a specific way of living that is in the process of comprehensively changing. If the changes may seem intimidating, scary and constraining at first, it is completely valid as the pandemic still exists and you must take the time you need to adapt.
Noor Aldabal is a Staff Writer. Email her at
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