If the Pandemic Taught Us Anything, It’s That ‘Normal’ Wasn’t Serving Us

Now is the time to re-evaluate your relationships

Christina Tesoro, LMSW

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Photo by Mason Dahl on Unsplash

A common theme among my clients, as well as in my own life, is what do we do, now that we seem to be edging toward a return to “normal,” over a year since the COVID-19 pandemic began? March came and went, and as the days get longer and warmer, and more and more people get vaccinated, it’s a question on many people’s minds. In particular, folks seem to be asking, “What do I do now, with the information that I’ve learned about my friends and loved ones over the past year?”

Not everyone, after all, has operated in accordance with the same stringent safety regimens and precautions: From determined anti-maskers, to those who have treated the past year as an opportunity to take multiple vacations, to people who — whether because of chronic illness and high risk, or out of solidarity for friends and family members shouldering that risk — are still minimizing their time spent outdoors, in many ways, we’ve all had to live our values out in the open this year.

Folks seem to be asking: “What do I do now, with the information that I’ve learned about my friends and loved ones over the past year?”

As memes and tweets abound about no longer having COVID as a go-to excuse to turn down invitations to hang out, many of us are feeling awkward and anxious at the prospect of having to see people face-to-face for the first time in over a year. If this anxiety feels familiar to you, here are some things to keep in mind.

We Don’t Have To Return to “Normal”

…and in fact, we shouldn’t.

If one thing has been made abundantly clear this year, it’s that normal wasn’t serving us. We should question what a return to normal really means, and what we expect of it. Over half a million people in the United States have lost their lives to COVID, an undeniable tragedy that we have yet to collectively mourn. Millions of people are still on unemployment. The service industry is still decimated, having contended with partial openings and reduced capacity for the past several months, and thousands of…

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Christina Tesoro, LMSW

Christina Tesoro is a New York City-based writer, sex educator, and therapist.