Now that we have been dealing with the pandemic for over a year, it seems like all anyone can talk about is going back to normal.
This pandemic and the ensuing changes it has brought about have shifted lives and society so drastically that getting back to normal isn’t even a possibility. Things will change again and we’ll resume doing things we did before, but we aren’t going back to what was.
In fact, as restrictions begin to ease, we will probably see things get worse before they get better. We’ve been changed. We’ve been hurt. Some of us haven’t coped well.
This pandemic forced us to drop one of the things that is most vital to humans and to our mental health—connection.
Johann Hari states that human connection is the opposite of addiction. During a year where all of our stress, fears, and anxieties were amplified, we could not turn to the very thing we needed the most—human connection. Oh, the irony.
So many turned to comfort and solace another way. We’ve long been told that alcohol can’t let us down. After all, isn’t it there to soothe and take away the things that hurt us? Alcohol is the oldest known sedative, having been used in Ancient Mesopotamia. In 2020, it once again became the numbing agent of choice.
That is why things are going to get worse before they get better as we emerge from this pandemic. We are going to be dealing with a myriad of new issues. Resuming “normal” activities will begin to shed light on just how not normal the way we have been coping with things is. You can’t hide wine in your coffee cup once you’re back in the office. Hangovers are really a b*tch when you can no longer just roll out of bed and commute to your couch.
Most of all, we’re going to have to face the depression, the anxiety, and the other issues that have made normal seem like it is a word that no longer exists in our vocabulary.
So, no. We’re not going back to life as it was. That is a given. It’s also not a bad thing.
We’re never going back to normal again because we deserve better. We deserve more. We deserve freedom, happiness, and a chance to hit pause anytime we need to.
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