By Martha B. While traveling around the world, I have always been impressed with how quickly we adapt to the “new normal.” When staying in an Airbnb in Paris last summer, we quickly adapted to running out for croissants for breakfast, getting “up and ready” early to plan our sightseeing, and tuning into the Women’s World Cup soccer games in the evening. Within the first three days, this had become our normal routine. On another vacation, while traveling on a cruise ship around the tip of South America, within three days we had developed a routine of when and where we went for meals, what we did for exercise, what shore excursions we would take, when we would play bridge, and what lectures we would attend. These patterns, although unlike our daily routines at home, brought us pleasure.

Our routine these days during the pandemic is quite dissimilar from the pattern of our days prior to the “stay at home” order. However, just like being on a vacation, they have taken on a certain sameness that gives a sense of security and order to our lives. In the old days, before COVID-19, I would read three books a month. Now I read three books a week! In the old days, my husband and I would take walks after dinner. Now we look for the sunniest time of day.  In the old days, on a whim we might go to the grocery to pick up food for dinner. Now we take any three ingredients in our cupboard and creatively make a meal out of them. In the past, I would connect with friends and family in person, now I “Zoom in” to my International group activities. Even my birthday party in April was Zoomed. (The fact that family members did not share their cupcakes with me was disappointing although I could see that they were enjoying them. And I had the benefit of zero calories!).

Our “New Normal” has some charms. It has allowed me to go through old pictures and reach out to old friends. When I find a picture from years back, I photograph it and email it to them.

We have no other option but to embrace the “New Normal.” This too will pass and perhaps give way to another new normal, even better than the past.