043 // The Normal Normal Now

It’s been nearly a year now since anything has felt normal and I feel like I’m beginning to forget what that old life, that old sense of joy and community, used to feel like.

There were some new glimmers of hope this week. A much missed coworker returned, small snatches of lost focus and passion were felt, and I scheduled my first dose of the COVID vaccine for this weekend. Perhaps just over the horizon is the relief I have been longing for since this time nearly a year ago. Perhaps things will finally get better this time.

Or perhaps things have only begun to feel better with time. It’s been so long since I was myself and life was the old normal that the new normal has become simply the normal normal now.

Albert Camus wrote in The Stanger: “After a while you could get used to anything.” I really believe that is true. Humans feel happiness or misery by contrasts, and the available emotions are growing quite flat. Or maybe it’s only that a small subset of emotions has overwhelmed and engulfed nearly the entirety of everyday life, leaving nothing for the personal pains of ordinary human existence.

My little losses, though great to me, are only drops in the ocean of despair we’re all swimming in, and somehow that makes it even harder to process. My pain blends into the background. My pain hardly even exists.

I wonder, once we are through with this great collective and connective grieving we’re going through now, if there might be an equally weighty but personal and private grief waiting behind it for each of us to bear alone?


I thought I was getting better but today I’m almost 100% worse off than I was yesterday. I had bragged that though I was sick at least it was confined to my throat and I wasn’t plagued with nasal congestion or a cough. Today both have shown up and I’m unable to breathe comfortably. The battle is exhausting and infuriating.

On top of the sickness it’s snowing again too and my mood is only further soured. I can’t find one reason to be happy or positive. If I hadn’t already taken off so much and if I didn’t already have so many days off coming up I would have spent another day on the couch.

Thank god for my coworkers who are taking up my slack and making sure all the things I normally do get done to the same standard that I would have completed them if I were well enough to do so on my own. It’s a big weight lifted off my chest and a chance for me to rest emotionally even if I can’t physically.