The New Abnormal
I am not a blogger nor an influencer (but: do wash your hands!). I’m incapable of taking selfies, even with 50 filters to choose from, and I don’t post them with deep philosophical quotes underneath, trying to get at least 2,438 likes. I’m not trying to be the next Carrie Bradshaw (ok maybe, I hope Vogue is reading this) and just like everyone during the lockdown around the world, I’m bored and isolated at home, in my case in a 1-bedroom apartment.
Sitting on my balcony on the 20th floor, looking down in awe at people casually strolling, wondering how they were able to miss the ‘stay at home’ memo (where are the drones when you need them?) I just feel like writing off my thoughts and feelings. The alternative being: eating my 8th meal of the day while binge-watching a Spanish series about male strippers trying to solve murders or about Joe Exotic making country songs with his tigers and 2 husbands, talking to my plants (“aren’t you looking great today!” but mostly “please don’t die”), cleaning my apartment again, or hearing Trump proclaim on the news that “this will all magically disappear.”
As I’ve had more time than usual to (over)think, I’ve realized already that there are so many things I will never take for granted ever again, once we get out of this.
Not meant to sound cheesy, but I will never take the brave front liners like medical staff for granted ever again. I bow down deeply to these people as they are risking their own health – and sanity – in order to help others. Let’s also not take for granted our own health and that of our loved ones, which is a true luxury. I will also support small businesses more now and in the future. It’s sad to see local restaurants who were thriving, now having to offer food delivery with 50% discount, sending cute hand-written notes with their orders (“stay safe homie, thanks for your support”) that puts a smile on my face but at the same time breaks my heart. On a positive note, a good reason to continue with Deliveroo again, so I can stop eating the same 3 homemade versions of pasta and toasties for weeks in a row now. I bake (apple pie) better than I cook.
An obvious thing I will never take for granted again is the freedom of movement and being able to hop on a plane to travel around the world. And to go back home to see family and friends. That was a real luxury. In our new situation, all we can explore is our living room, the super market around the corner (where I’m not sure I’m welcome anymore as I tried to teach the personnel ‘social distancing’), the Netflix library, and new habits of our partner.
I am an overthinker yet in all of the thousands of catastrophized scenarios I’ve ever come up with in my head, this was never one of them. What we’re going through right now is next level. Waking up with a heavy feeling on your chest, feeling out of control & out of breath, your head filled with thoughts as if 3,674 browser tabs are open in your head, has for me been “normal” most of my life, and for most people – unfortunately – is new. You can’t stop thinking, however, I’ve learned over the years that you can change your thoughts – into positive ones. Well it took almost 40 years, but it shows you can teach an old dog new tricks, and even though anxiety always surfaces I still try to stay positive. Along with taking control by turning off social media and the news, where the umpteenth host or influencer is telling us we’re in a real life version of Independence Day or Outbreak. Or explaining what type of face mask best matches your outfit – super important stuff during Armageddon of course.
I’m sure in a few weeks, we’ll see Dubai Divas with bushy eyebrows (and maybe a moustache?), chipped off nails, no eyelashes, roots and without an orange tan. We’ll see male fitness addicts with beer bellies and man-boobs, wearing Santa-like beards, and also without an orange tan. And while I don’t consider myself high maintenance, I have learned that I will never take for granted again the service industry like salons and spas. Pastels, I do hope you’ll open again soon, as I don’t want to have to experiment with cutting my own hair. A bowl cut is not a good hair cut, I learned that already when I was 9 years old.
Lastly, the thing I will never ever take for granted again is Mother Nature. What a painful wake-up call for the world this has been; she is really angry and for good reason. It’s sad it’s taken a pandemic to reduce pollution around the world and for everyone to appreciate nature again. I promise I will recycle, use paper straws, cycle more and drive less (well I don’t have a car anyway), and will never use silicone. I can’t promise Dubai will stop cloud seeding, but please: don’t cause apocalyptic weather scenes again like last week, it’s hard to handle in times like these.
Fingers and toes crossed everyone learns from this as well and we will never go back to what we considered “normal”. Let’s use what we’ve learned and philosophized over all this time for the better. Please stay positive – how difficult that may be at times – and stay safe and healthy at home. And don’t forget your thumbs when you wash your hands!