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The New (Ab)Normal

Is it me or the phrase “new normal” sounds so frustrating? The quarantine, travel bans, wearing masks everywhere all the time, and the social distancing became our reality since the early spring last year. However, thinking that this situation will last much longer sounds so discouraging. On a daily basis, we are brainwashed with the numbers of infected, deceased and vaccinated ones, as well as the up-to-date statistics from other countries worldwide. The agony does not stop there; we were forced to learn how to live with hand sanitizers, capacity limits in places we visit, online meetings, cancelled plans and curfews. Being far away from our families and the loved ones with no certainty of when, where and how we will be able to meet next time became our daily life. The passed year, so out-of-ordinary in many ways, made us think about our pre-Corona lives and all the possibilities we had and took for granted. It makes us reflect on the essential freedom of movement, our rights, and the fragility of our health above all.

On the other hand, all the measures make absolute sense if we think only for a second about the millions of white coats worldwide working around the clock and sweating under the layers of masks, gloves, and face shields in order to save lives and fight for all of us. Maybe we should reckon how lucky we are to be hit with pandemic in times of the internet and technology that enables us to stay connected, have classes, lessons, and conference talks via live streaming platforms. We were able to participate in events held by the institutions from the other side of the globe, those we could only imagine visiting and being a part of. In some weird way, it made us feel more as a part of one unified organism that gathered around the same thing - the global pandemic.

Weeks and months spent under the lockdown made us re-evaluate the nature. Maybe not permanently, but at least for a bit, we could see people of all generations turning their interests to gardening, plant-parenting, food production…Numbers were fleeing to public parks and waterfronts nearby to walk and exercise in the open air. The densely populated city became a synonym for the virus spread. However, the moment lockdown was loosened and strict measures were lifted, people started craving to get back to their pre-pandemic life routines. Last summer, we could notice packed restaurant terraces, crowded bars and squares, or hear about illegal private parties popping up in cities…The result: new hit of the virus spread and increase in the global numbers, followed by the new wave, and then another one. The virus has not yet thought us to give up on our habits. Cities, it seems, are not and will never become outdated and undesired places to live. People need freedom of choice, happenings, events, a plentitude of resources at their reach. Finally, people need a proximity of other people, so precious in the times of social distancing.

Maybe the global pandemic taught us never to go too far from the nature and its forces. If we forget about it, it might show us its teeth. And yet maybe, we could seek to find a solution in adaptation and transformation of our cities, habits, and lives around the situation that hit us, but always and only in harmony with nature and ourselves.

(The text was written in October 2020.)

Madrid during the lockdown, spring 2020

Photo by David Fernández on Pixabay

The image is free for commercial and noncommercial use. Retrieved on 20/10/2020, from:

Pandemic as a business opportunity: COVID-19 shop

Photo by Ksenija Krsmanovic: Valladolid, March 2021

Selfie of the author

Photo by Ksenija Krsmanovic: Valladolid, 2020


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