UNITED STATES—I must admit I am so sick and tired of hearing people say let’s get things back to normal. Here is the thing about normalcy: it means there is no major hiccup to what you expect as normal. The year 2020 was beyond unexpected, it had never happened before. We had a virus that killed over a half million people, ravage people’s immune system, shut down the country literally and figuratively. Placed people in isolation for weeks and made the notion of wearing face masks a norm.

Yeah, tell me how you expect to get normalcy overnight? It’s not going to take months; it is going to take years before we have some semblance of normalcy. Grocery stores were forced to adjust operations to where curbside and store pickup has become the norm. I will admit I had considered doing this on multiple occasions, but if there is one thing I want to touch, feel and see it is my groceries. Yeah, I could have someone else do it, but my comfort is just not there to get over this hump.

The same applies with curbside and store-pick at retailers, now this is the one thing that I believe is genius from retailers. It was the one thing that kept me slightly sane from mid-March thru June where I could NOT visit the actual mall and many retailers who were shut-down as a result of the pandemic people. It just expedites the shopping process and to have something ready for you so you don’t have to shop and look for the perfect item was genius.

Eating out, what can I say? At the midst of the pandemic, there was very little eating out. People were scared and nervous with the thought of contracting the coronavirus; so much to the point that the focus was purchasing groceries and cooking at home. I did that for several weeks, and then the idea of getting takeout became more alluring because I got tired of cooking, and it only led to more weight gain for many Americans. Yes, the quarantine 15 is a very real thing people, even if you think it’s not.

The one thing that I think was genius was face masks. Why? Think about this, how many people didn’t catch a cold in the last year, the flu or germs being spread from person to person directly as a result of coughing and sneezing. I have to personally admit I did not get sick at all last year that I can recall America. People are so eager to stop wearing that mask in public because they have had one shot or are fully vaccinated, but I have no intention of disposing of wearing that face mask anytime soon. I plan to wear it for at least another year.

For me personally, I feel more comfortable with the mask. It is like the new norm for me and it puts me at ease. I rather be safe than sorry. We still don’t know a ton about COVID-19 and with Dr. Fauci, the CDC and so many health officials sending mixed signals it is beyond frustrating. I just can’t understand at times what can you do and what you cannot do. If you don’t know, then don’t declare a massive statement that is going to leave people bewildered, frustrated and angry.

Social gatherings have been limited to a degree, you don’t want to interact with as many people as you have done in the past, and on top of that being in large crowds just ushers in that fear of ‘what’ could happen. I see people still not adhering to social distancing rules even though they know they should be at least giving you 6 feet. Don’t get too comfortable thinking normalcy is here and back to stay cause we’re still in a pandemic and I don’t want to be exposed.

Sanitizer, toilet paper, paper towel, cleaning wipes, things we took for granted we now treasure as things we do not want to run out of. People started saving more, people spent lavishly, zoom meeting become the norm, we spent tons of hours watching TV and movies and working from home has become a new trend that may not be changing anytime soon people, if we are being honest.

Our lives were upended in 2020, and as a result it is going to take reflection, examination and TIME to get a grasp on what normalcy feels like. Hell, I thought being able to go to the supermarket in the middle of a pandemic was a sign of normalcy, but guess what the supermarket as we know it changed. Signs to social distance and to travel in one direction are marked throughout many retailers now. You enter one door and you exit out the other to keep the flow of traffic consistent America.

We were forced to adapt as a result of the pandemic, and that adaptation is what is the new normal if you are asking me, the problem is so many of us are fighting that new normal because we don’t like those restrictions and we are fighting them tooth and nail. Change is here to stay people rather we like it or not.

Written By Zoe Mitchell