I’ve been thinking a lot lately about what our “new normal” is going to look like. I feel like we are losing that social interaction that makes our lives unique, and I wonder how our “new future” will differ from today.
I’ll use myself as an example. I hate to admit it, but I’m getting a little hard of hearing. When I am speaking with someone, I have to rely pretty heavily on reading lips to catch the whole conversation. Having to wear masks everywhere has shone a light on how bad my hearing has become.
I recently thought back fondly on a memory from when I was younger. Sharing a joint with friends sitting at a dinner table, laughing, and playing board games, usually Risk. It didn’t matter to us that we all had different backgrounds or had different beliefs. Your past didn’t matter either, there was only now.
I still have those friends to this day, and although we are all much older and moved past that point in our life, we still keep in touch over social media. I cherish the memories I made with that group of friends, and I think that is a huge piece of what makes me who I am.
Fast-forward to today. I don’t think that situation would play out the same if it took place in the “new normal”, and it saddens me that these types of life experiences could be lost to the next generation.
I don’t know if we will ever be able to get back to “normal”, or if the “new normal” is here to stay. If it is here to stay then we have to be careful that our loss of “normal” social interaction doesn’t lead to “new normal” social isolation.
I worry for the next generation that may not get to experience things like the rush you feel when you are in a packed stadium watching your favorite team win an important game. I worry that going to a traditional Irish pub, having a couple of pints, and singing drinking songs is an experience that has no place in our “new normal”.
I think the thing that saddens me the most is the fact that the masks and social distancing are necessary. It’s being done out of necessity and if there was a safe alternative to them I’m sure most people would go for it, but right now we have to mask up.
Even though I know this, it doesn’t stop me thinking that the lineup I’m standing in when I’m shopping, with everyone wearing masks and standing six feet apart, reminds me of some Orwellian dystopia or maybe a Pink Floyd music video. Everything a drab shade of grey, our spirit broken.
That is a bit of an exaggeration… for now anyway. Find a way to adapt your way of life so you don’t lose these opportunities to socialize in our “new normal” and maybe those late-night board game days won’t be lost forever. Maybe we can avoid our Orwellian future.
I’m not saying that smoking pot with your friends and playing board games will solve the world’s problems, but it sure sounds pretty damn good right now.