NROP: The old, the new, and the normal.

This week marks a full year of me working (mostly) from home and dealing with the pandemic. Last March I thought we would be back in the office by April. Back then, everyone was talking about the “new normal.” For months, people have waited for things to go back to the way they were before the health crisis began. Here we are now, a year later, still wondering when this will end. As I have said last year, things will not get back to “normal,” so quit waiting for it to happen.

Recently, I watched a lecture during which the speaker briefly talked about then (pre-pandemic) vs. now. He said that the old times are not coming back and it is not even something we need to mourn. There were things back then that we thought were OK but now we know needed improvement. Humans are creatures of habit. Even though I enjoy reinventing things, I also see no reason for change if things are working well. However, turbulent times shake you up enough to prompt you to rethink the world around you. Change is needed. Not for the sake of change but for the sake of actual improvement and advancement.

Check out my old article on change: Change is ever-changing.

In the past couple of weeks, I spoke a lot with people from different states and we compared different restrictions imposed due to the COVID-19 pandemic. It is fascinating to be able to hear how different regions deal with the issue and what impact it has on the residents of those areas. I know that for me, winters are rough when you are freezing for months on end and do not get to see the sun at all for a large part of that time. Add onto that the inability to do anything “fun” like going out to eat, to the movies, or to a museum, and you have a great recipe of success… for depression. Today, I am grateful to not be in that situation but I know some of you might be, and so I hope that this will soon change. Spring is right around the corner! (I hate the concept of Daylight Saving! My body knows that the evil alarm clock is lying to it. No, it is not 7am. It is 6!!!)

What is the best human motivator? Studies show that money is NOT the motivator that is most sought out by employees. Instead, people prefer to feel like they are recognized for their work (pat on the back) and that they feel they are a part of something bigger. However, money definitely helps and California is a great example of that. Right now, there is a lot of money being promised to districts of that state if they choose to re-open in-person learning for K-12 kids. In NROP: We don’t need no education., I shared some of my own arguments for the re-opening of schools. That was back in July of last year. It is hard for me to hear that some states are still stuck in the past, insisting on remote learning, waiting for the pandemic to “blow over.” We have been through this already – waiting is not an option because we are NOT going back to how things were a year and a bit ago. The state of Oregon requires that schools offer in-person learning beginning mid-April for K-12 kids. Chicago and New York opened their schools for elementary students, but have no plan for high-school students as of yet.

A photo used in the first article that I linked (about reopening in California) shows kids sitting six feet apart, surrounded by plexiglass. Yes, they still have to wear masks. All of this seems like a nightmare for me. I think back to the days when I found it difficult to read what was written on the board and I had to check my friend’s notebook to see what I should put in mine. (Glasses changed everything.) Apparently, this is not something unique to me. Many others have shared the same story with me. Now imagine having this issue, having something obstructing your view even more, and then not being able to copy your friend’s notes. What would you do? If I was to guess, those kids probably gave up on taking notes. That sounds like a recipe for failure during exams, etc.

These measures might be helpful for teachers, though, because they minimize the chances of people talking during class, passing notes, and cheating. That is definitely something I can understand and sympathize with, but I also feel like it is a vital part of a kid’s social life during their time at school.

Giving kids the option to return is crucial in my opinion. Unfortunately, like with anything else, people are already worried that the monetary incentive will lead some schools to re-open at minimum capacity (ex.: only once a week) and still receive the money. I know a few people who transferred their kids to a private school months ago because they just could not wait to see if their old school would reopen or not. Not everyone has that ability, though.

While I am a big proponent of working from home (for those that want to), I am against full-time remote learning for kids. Explanations for that have been pouring in from all over the country. In Ohio, one of the poorest school districts, reported many kids skipping school and falling behind on their studies. What did they do? They took the option of remote learning from most of the high-schoolers and brought them back (part-time) for in-person educations. Those that were allowed to stay at home were those that attended at least 80% of their classes and were getting passing marks in them. I was stunned to read that only 15% of students fulfilled that criteria. What a low bar… Although the schools requested kids to come back, not all of them actually listened. It is very disheartening to see kids disinterested in learning. The same kids who refused to go back to school were seen on the streets before winter hit. What does that tell you? No, they are not really worried about getting infected. And the district that is one of the poorest in the US is not going to get any better if kids skip school and hang around on the streets. The students that came back are happy and report that their grades have gone up significantly, compared to when learning from home.

Another important aspect of our lives that hit the headlines recently is culture. From NROP: A Trip to the Movies. we know that many miss being able to go to the cinema. In France, people are asking the President to reopen theaters and allow performers to do their jobs. The article states: “Theatres, cinemas, art galleries and other cultural spaces have been shut since October when France was put into its second full lockdown. Much of the economy reopened in mid-December but cultural venues, like bars and restaurants, remained closed.” Over the weekend, during the French Oscars, an actress stripped on stage and revealed writing on her back saying “No culture, no future.” I have to say that when I first saw that, I thought that the one without culture was her. To me, Corinne Masiero is a name I hear for the first time, but I assume she must be big in France. However, I have a feeling that the French still have a future to look forward to, even if it does not involve seeing this actress’ behind. On the other hand, I do believe it to be silly to allow people to go shopping and to malls but keep the movies and theaters closed. It does not make much logical sense.

Let us stop fixating on what was and focus on what is. Instead of waiting for things to go back to the way they were, we need to acknowledge that they will not and use this time as an opportunity to reinvent certain things that will help propel us towards a better tomorrow!

  • Is there anything you redesigned in your life due to the pandemic?
  • Are you holding tightly onto the hope that things will go back to “normal” or are you ready for the new world?
  • What is one restriction that you like/dislike the most?
  • What do you miss most about your life from before March 2020?

Stay golden,

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27 thoughts on “NROP: The old, the new, and the normal.

Add yours

  1. J and I are having a bet.
    He thinks people will be traveling like crazy once it’s allowed.
    I think that people have noticed it’s equally nice at home with your peace and quiet.

    I would like to travel again, but more than anything, I miss the day trips to Germany. The town we live in now offers next to nothing and so many shops have gone bankrupt.
    I am ready to do adventures things again, such as going to the hairdresser that won’t cost me 50 euro as the bare minimum

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I think I’m with Jasper on that one. I already hear about planes filling up. More and more people are seen at airports. So many people travelled for Christmas/Thanksgiving. I know plenty of people who are itching to travel the moment they are able to. In fact, I think we’ll see a travel boom because people realized how easy it is to lose something we take for granted. Yes, there will still be those who will be worried about the virus and will remain home.

      Ouch. It sounds like a sad reality. Many places have closed here, too. We talk about those places a lot, mourning all the fun we had before (but also looking forward to discovering new places).


  2. The pandemic made certain things easier for me. I find people and life difficult. The pandemic let me put it all aside. Not necessarily a good thing, but I enjoyed not feeling the stress.

    The school thing enrages and amuses. The irony for me is that if they had the correct teacher to student ratio (this is an everywhere problem), spacing them out wouldn’t be much of a problem. And not having the older, more denser kids masked is insane. But then, putting logical people in charge doesn’t seem to be something we do 😉

    The illogic of the restrictions, for instance. Costco yes, churches no. Walmart yes, weddings no. In my area, we’ve been asked to basically keep to ourselves but also keep businesses running. That has led to a weird level of infection and death and battle fatigue. Like you, thank God for spring/summer (and yes, down with DST).

    What do I miss most? Not feeling guilty. Not feeling guilty when I let my parents come in for a brief (masked) visit. Not feeling guilty when I actually go out for an unnecessary. Not feeling guilty that the pandemic didn’t turn me into a productive, crafty, home industry. 😅

    Liked by 2 people

    1. “Not feeling the stress.” We’ve talked about this – I feel the same – I’m much more peaceful now that I limit my exposure to people face to face.

      Logical people in charge? What an insane concept! Don’t you know that’s not how thing work? LOL

      You are absolutely right and we circle back to my last post and consistency. WTF is up with that?

      Ah, yes, I used to feel guilty for not having learned a million skills, too. But you know what? I’m trying to make manageable progress in the areas that are important to me here and now. I might learn how to do all these useless things sometime later.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. I’m lucky in that it’s not a huge deal for me to give up socializing. I miss restaurant meals and game nights, but it’s not devastating to me to stay home. I do miss my family a lot, especially my daughter who lives farther away. I’ve driven to see her once (7 plus hours) and will again in April. Even after things are better, I’ll be wary of plane travel…

    Liked by 2 people

  4. My little granddaughter tells me how sad she has been to be separated from her friends, and that her little brother, who had barely started preschool when everything shut down, “doesn’t know how to socialize.” It kills me to think what we’ve been doing to our children. 💔

    Liked by 1 person

  5. i don’t think the ‘new’ normal has been defined yet. I used to love strolling along busy urban streets and popping in stores to shop and chat with the staff. Many of my favorite haunts have closed – permanently. Their staff have moved on. The question is, have we moved on as well? I know I have. What was important for me a year ago has changed.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. It’s good to re-prioritize sometimes. I’m glad to hear that you’ve made a move in that direction. However, it is a little sad to think about those people that we have left behind. Where did they go? How are their lives now that they are not in that store/ restaurant anymore.

      Liked by 1 person

  6. The thing that I hate most is the feeling that my every move is being watched and scrutinized and I might be though a criminal for standing too close to someone or hugging my daughter or my grandchild. People are social animals and need contact with other people.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. A little over a year ago, I was pretty sure the only thing standing between me and a trip to Scotland was plane tickets. Now the reality is that they might require a vaccine in order to enter their country (and with long-term effects of said vaccine remaining unknown, I’m in no rush to capitulate). Alas, the bonny banks of Scotland may have to wait. :/

    Liked by 2 people

  8. I agree with you that schools need to reopen. That 15% pass rate is a crying shame, although the bar is pretty low for the kids who attend, too. Failing kids is out these days. It’s seen as condemning them to life as a drop out. Never mind that they can go back and pass later. I think it’s a mistake, but nobody’s asking me, just like with reopening schools. Everything has gotten political, rather than just doing the best thing.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Precisely. We were already leaning more towards passing than teaching but the pandemic and school closures seem to only have exacerbated the issue. Sadly, the “best thing” seems to mean different things to different people nowadays.

      Liked by 1 person

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