Five months into the pandemic and I have come to terms with the fact that this is the NEW NORMAL. I don’t think there is ever ‘a going back to the way our lives were’. The world as we knew it is over and the funny part was that we didn’t even know that it was ending, like no heads up or nothing. The massive time out that the coronavirus has brought a lot of radical lifestyle changes. They say changes are inevitable and changes are the only thing that is constant but that being said did anyone actually anticipate this big of a change?

I know I didn’t, it took me five months to realize and accept the ‘New normal’. I have rounded up some changes that I have personally noticed in our lives. The hardest part of the new normal is the new normal itself, like convincing and coping with the fact that this is going to be our life from now onwards. Even if they find a vaccine, I don’t think any of us are going to get on a plane anytime soon, or even go to a mall for the matter. The realization of something like this could happen is going to have an impact on the way we live.

The new normal, where we all work from home, where we have tied ourselves to our computers and smartphones. Remember that time when we had to go to work/school in the morning, and get back home mentally and physically exhausted. I miss that, cause that made me sleep better at night. Earlier employers wouldn’t even think of letting their employees work from home and now everyone is preferring that. Employers are becoming more flexible, and research shows that productivity has actually gone up. As an employee I love the idea, don’t have to get ready in the morning, don’t have to commute work which saves both time and money. My daily expenses have come down remarkably.   

The new normal, where relationships and friendships have become virtual through social media platforms, video calls, and chats. Lovers who just couldn’t stay apart have now gotten used to video calling each other. These intimate and personal conversations have a need to be secure and private more than ever, no different than how you were talking in person. Seeing your crush smile at you every morning will not be the same as looking at their Instagram post. Friends who used to hang out everyday use group chats to discuss, debate, and make plans. People who used to go to the movies use applications like Netflix Party. Human interactions have come down to a minimum. However, I do miss those weekends, where we used to hang out, and laugh, and share those moments together. I say no advancement in technology can bring that. Those priceless moments with your best friends.      

The new normal, where going to school is logging into Microsoft Teams, Google Meet, or Zoom. Teachers try to teach with the same passion as they do in a classroom, but it will lack that personal touch that it had in classrooms. The pandemic and these online classes have finally made the parents see the internet as a must-have rather than a nice-to-have thing. This year will go down in history as a turning point for the way we learn and teach. As an optimist, I am okay with the online classes, because I have free time now, more time for my hobbies and interests. Although cheating in tests and marking your proxy attendance has never been easier. The school was never just about learning, grades and tests, it was much more, the fests, the celebrations, the sports events, the punishments, canteens. Even after all this over we will see a more blended learning environment with both online and physical classrooms. These modern-day applications can never replace our schools and colleges.

The new normal, where airlines request passengers to keep their face shields, masks, and gloves on at all times. Most countries are already asking for a COVID free certificate for visa processing. On one hand, people are itching to get out and about but on the other hand, they are also thinking if it is safe to step outside? It will be quite sometime before people over their anxieties about their safety. I will tell you what the new normal will not be – unplanned sudden trips, overcrowded tourist places, the mad dash for tickets, or printed boarding passes. As governments are placing stricter travel restrictions, travel plans are getting shelved, and passports are tucked away in drawers. The thought that no place on earth is safe is lingering a lot of suspicion and fears among the people. “The Travel trends for this year: The year of going nowhere!”

The new normal, where families actually spend quality time together at home. My family schedule is organized according to the lockdown rules. We actually have food together every day now. My dad plays badminton with me and my brother now (which has never happened in our lives before). We all stay home all the time, talking to each other, all thanks to a virus. Someday in the future, we could tell our grandchildren about the weird time we had, and where it all changed.   

“Innovation is the ability to see change as an opportunity, not as a threat.”

– Steve Jobs

COVID-19 Pandemic will always be remembered as the epic turning point in mankind’s history. We shall be remembered as the generation which reinvented our way of life to fight the crisis together. This reinvention has changed the way we think, work, play, and live all together. Some of these changes may be temporary, but others are here to stay. People have connected to technology for survival which has made it a necessity rather than a luxury.