I just got back from a hike, and wow. Since the pandemic has started, I’ve been staying at home, only leaving to go to work. I’ve seen my friends a total of 3 times, and every time we’ve seen each other, we were social distancing the entire time. Today, I went on a hike with my best friend and it really hit me. The world has changed, and the world is going to continue changing. Right now, this is our new normal.
I know that might not be a big shocker to many people, but I am from Westchester, New York. We were one of the hardest-hit counties when coronavirus first started to spread in the United States because we are just north of New York City. A lot of people in my county probably has known someone who’s gotten it, has known someone who’s gotten it and passed away, or has had it themselves. It’s kind of a startling thing because now in the rest of the US cases are rising again. In the states where the cases are rising, masks weren’t always mandated, and people had the choice. In my county, even as you’re driving, and you see people walking alongside the road everyone is wearing a mask. Parking lots that would be filled on a hot summer day, are bare. When I was on my hike, which is something that it is so easy to social distance during, everyone was wearing a mask. Everyone was leaving room for people to maintain that social distance even while wearing that mask. It is comforting but shocking at the same time. Comforting because people are doing their best to keep themselves and other people safe during a time where our biggest enemies are hatred and a virus. Shocking because it’s a change from what people are used to, and it’s becoming our new normal. I remember the days where I could grab dinner with someone and catch up. Now that’s not the case.
On the hike, my friend and I were talking about the upcoming semester. First off, I am grateful that my school is offering an in-person, hybrid semester because I know that some schools are going entirely online next semester. However, it is daunting thinking about next semester because it will be different. I won’t have a typical senior year. Who knows, maybe it will get canceled because the threat of the virus is so high that even with all of the precautions my school is planning on taking, they might make it online? I don’t know, so much can change and that is the new normal. Things being unpredictable and can change at the flip of a light switch.
As much as I want things to go back to the old normal, I know that everything happens for a reason. I know that our world will continue to change. All we can do is embrace the ride, but it’s still mind-blowing. I do hope for the day where coronavirus isn’t a threat and that racism no longer exists, but I know that each of those things will take time.
If you’re reading this the day I post it, have a great July 4th weekend!
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WHAT I AM READING: The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Color Blindness by Michelle Alexander