The New Normal

During my childhood, our days had a rhythm. There were cast-in-stone days for every single one of our activities. My father worked Monday to Friday from 8:30 am – 5:00 pm. Before driving home, he would call to see if Mom needed anything from the store and if she did, he would pick it up on his way.

Regular shopping could be done Monday to Friday, between 10 am and 6 pm. Special shopping (for items that required trying-on) happened during the one day a week when extended-hours were in place … closing happened at 9:00 pm on Fridays… and if we needed Dad to come along, we went on Saturday, open 10am – 2 pm.

We eight kids went to school from 9 am – 3 pm; all extra-curricular activities and most doctor appointments and the like, happened during the 2 hours after school got out. We were always home by 5 and devoured our dinner at 6pm. Saturday mornings were for chores and we all trooped to Confession after lunch. Saturday nights we watched TV or played games. Sunday… Mass at 8:30 am, of course, a bacon & eggs breakfast prepared by Dad afterwards, and a BIG dinner in the evening. The hours in between were for whatever we wanted to do. Sundays we had our downtime

Such a prescribed, structured way of life seems unthinkable now. We are used to doing what we need or want to do during many different time periods… day or night. But COVID 19 has changed all that hasn’t it?

Finding a “new normal” is what we are challenged to do. As much as I felt hemmed in during my girlhood, I believe a structured and staggered timetable (that would allow the community to take care of all their needs in a socially distanced way) is one viable alternative. What do I mean by this?

For starters, most of those who have been working from home are in no hurry to return full time to the office. The online method is working well; so why can’t it continue? Of course most employers and clients need some real time interaction with the worker bees. This could be scheduled but it does not all need to happen during the same time as everyone else’s appointments. If we could set up our meetings during hours when there are lulls in traffic and public transportation, there would be less vehicle congestion, people making lines and so on. Social distancing would be easier and infection would go down. The same could be done with school; families could have the option of partial school attendance. Some courses are totally adaptable to online delivery. Day care could go back into the hands of family or trusted friends.

Without an inflexible work or school schedule, shopping and other errands or appointments could happen during non-peak periods. People could book store times, and stores could stay open less hours a day. We would gain service-oriented interaction and get rid of the impulse, market-driven shopping culture that is currently in place. And why not go back to having Sunday as “a day of rest”?

Sure, all this would require re-thinking the rhythm of our days. But I think most of us understand by now that the world as we knew it will not come back. There are alternatives and actually once we get ourselves organized, they won’t be hard to take.

Something that will surely go go by the wayside are most huge gatherings, concerts and events. But would it be a bad thing to attend fewer but more intimate get-togethers, shows and congresses? When I think about it, large parties are not my preference anymore. Many sporting events could be pay-per-view. I think players would welcome a saner number of games per season.

For the occasions when we MUST expose ourselves to crowds, we could have a “suit” I plan to purchase two disposable painters’ coveralls that I will wear on my flights from Mexico to Canada. When I leave each airport I will take off my used mask and coveralls and put on fresh ones. I hope by doing this, I won’t be hauling any Coronavirus from one country to another.

*Note to enterprising designers: Why don’t you make up some attractive, more comfortable “sanitary safety suits”? I think they’d sell well…

Every scary circumstance that challenges us now can be resolved if we open up to the idea of doing so.

I have been pouring all my energy into keeping COVID 19 far away, and believe me, I don’t want o get sick. But the pandemic is our reality right now and for the next year or so… at least. The future depends on our inventiveness and willingness to change.

Tell me what you think…

Published by Changes in our Lives

I am originally from Canada but have lived in Mexico since 1976. My husband is from Merida, Yucatan and we raised our family here. We both worked for many years at Tecnologia Turistica Total (TTT), the tourism, language and multimedia college we founded for local and international students. Now retired, we enjoy spending time with family and friends, My other interests include spending time with freinds, reading, painting, cooking and travel.

14 thoughts on “The New Normal

  1. Very Sensible plan. I agree with you. We must learn to live with the virus and find new ways to live and stay safe.

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    1. Unfortunately this is the reality. I have been sleepless over COVID for some time. It has taken me a long time to accept the restrictions. But now that I have “embraced” the idea of a world with a constant threat, I want to figure the best way to go about coping with it.

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  2. I had to ware Tyvac outfits in the steel mill when dealing with organic oils that could penetrate the skin . They were hot enough after an hour or so that puddles would form in your boots.

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    1. That sounds awful. If I was in muggy Merida I would not even consider it. But on the air-conditioned plane? I think I will probably wear the outfit because I am extremely nervous about being in the Mexico City airport… I have stayed healthy for going on 4 months now. I am not about to get caught in that place.

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  3. You missed out your father cooking a huge Sunday breakfast when he and you older ones returned from Mass while your mother went. He always cleared up the cooking before anyone was allowed to eat.

    Cannot say that I miss the strict weekday routine, up at 5:40, quick cup of coffee before i got the children up at 6:30, everyone out of the house at 7:30, dropped the children off at their school by 8, and then had to get to certain intersections by set times so that i wouldn’t be late for my school. Then repeated in the afternoon to join the line to pick them up at 4:30 and the 30 minute drive home, followed by cooking dinner for 6:30, then homework and music practice, bedtime story, then papers to mark and lessons tp prepare. That was too much routine. There must be some happy place in the middle. I did not have the patience that your mother had!

    I agree that life will not go back to what it was.

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  4. You might get some funny looks in that suit, but I think your plan is a good one. I’ve decided that I’d rather get funny looks and survive the pandemic, than take risks which could result in an uncertain outcome…

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  5. Interesting idea. But I must confess that nothing has changed in my routine here on the west coast. And , other than perhaps a wise decision to close the beach temporarily, life has not changed for my Mexican neighbors. As of a week ago, Mexican tourists have been streaming back to the coastal villages, and people are making money to feed their families.

    The northerners who were left behind when the Great Northern Rapture occurred are scared to death they will all die with the increase of virus infections. It is not a perspective that my Mexican neighbors share. It is true that the local authorities want people to take sanitary measures, but no one (other than northerners) is listening to them.

    I have watched the three North American cultures interact with each other since the virus came to Mexico. The differences have been stark, and none of the three can understand the underlying assumptions in the other cultures. That is the true tragedy of this disease. An opportunity lost.

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    1. Like everything, it is a matter of degree and necessity. Some people have excellent reasons to keep COVID 19 far away. Others are not so vulnerable, but I think we all need to practise social distancing in respect for those who will likely die if they contract the virus. It can be very serious. You are right that different cultures have different understandings of the correct protocol. My husband just can’t “get” the fact that people cannot touch each other and hug & kiss … he has been a “hugger & kisser” for 76 years now and it is hard to change now.

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  6. Now that we are staying home every day I can’t help but say that for years I have wished that Sunday was a day of rest It is not about religion but about slowing down and taking time with friends and family. I remember when stores were closed on Sundays, It was peaceful. Oh well I got my wish but certainly not how I intended.

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  7. Is that ever true! These past few months have not been what anyone had in mind. . I think after we have some resolution of the pandmic, none of us will ven want to fo back to the crazy number of events we all attended.

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