The new normal
Today, I discovered a lesson the pandemic taught me: Treat new circumstances without clear expiry date as the new normal.
I know people who thought of pandemic restrictions as exceptional (and, secretly, astonishing) burdens that would surely be lifted any day now, 18 months into the pandemic. It made them angry and scared and grumpy: their expectations were being disappointed on a daily basis, and everything kept being wrong.
I said I discovered this lesson today: I’ve been sick for nearly two weeks now, with something that could be a particularly annoying stomach bug or the beginning of a chronic disease (will hopefully know more next week). I’ve done nothing these past days except sleep, feel miserable, try out new meds, and do the bare minimum to keep my freelance business alive (mostly answering emails and taking care of bug fixes). Can’t recommend it, really.
But part of the misery was the hope of getting better, and the resulting constant disappointment. So I decided that enough is enough: clearly, over a week of this makes it the new normal. I’ll still be trying to get better, and I’ll still be sick and in need of stupid amounts of rest, but it has changed how I approach the roughly four useful hours I have on any given day.
That’s not a lot: a shower easily eats one of those hours by exhausting me and ruining my circulation, and the same goes for eating (and even more so for cooking, which I’ll have to get around to again soon-ish). But still, today I’ve taken care of my weekly bookkeeping, done the laundry, answered all pending emails, and went grocery shopping on my own. This is likely going to be the entire extent of my activity today, to be honest, but it’s progress. I’m hoping to get two hours of actual work done tomorrow, and to find a sustainable working pace next week. (The beauty of being a freelancer.)
And in case this is a situation that’s actually here to stay, I’ve started to come up with more detailed plans. For my career, for medical access, for life in general. It’s not great, and I’m still hoping that something will work, soon, any minute now – but feeling prepared to live with a new normal still feels better than feeling disappointed every day.