Does your NEW normal look any different than your OLD normal?

Marc_G

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Hi Folks,

Now that we are about three years into COVID-19, for most people, the major impacts of the pandemic have receded from their day to day headlines. I'm curious to hear from folks about what, if anything, is different about their daily life that has changed due to the pandemic.

I'll lead off, in order of what comes to mind:

  • I work from home now. I used to work in an office 30-40 minutes away, commuting daily. I had flexibility to WFH as needed before the pandemic, but generally did so sparingly; there was an expectation that coming into the office was routine. Now, my office space is part of a manufacturing floor. There's no expectation this will ever change; some people in my department have relocated to other cities that don't even have an office of my company.

  • If I were to change companies, I would only consider positions that are either fully remote or require occasional in-office time. I like working from home, it turns out, though I was initially against doing it full time. Note that I'm in a white collar position in an industry where colleagues are spread through the world.

  • I'm done with movie theaters, permanently. The idea of being confined in a room with 200 of my closest friends unmasked and coughing fills me with some level of dread. I was "sick of" movie theaters before the pandemic, generally due to annoyance at rude patrons, dislike for the high cost to see films, and lukewarm feelings to the experience in general (crying babies not taken outside by parents, little kids being disruptive and not managed by parents, people talking during the film or using their phones, etc.). We used to go to movies where you could order food and have it brought to you during the show, which was kind of fun, but the food quality had deteriorated by 2019 and my wife was increasingly frustrated. Also, watching a film on my 60" plasma TV is a better visual experience than most screens near me; sound of course is better in a theater (I've got a 7.1 system but don't crank it up due to not wanting to piss off family). My wife really needs subtitles to help catch the dialog too. I don't care if I have to wait a few months to stream a new movie.

  • Despite not going to theaters, we have resumed attendance at classical music concerts. I'm musically ambivalent but my wife likes going to them so we do this for a date night maybe every other month or so. In this context I don't mind being cooped up with other people so much. There's more air space per person in these venues than most movie theaters, and frankly the older crowd is more likely to mask up if they have a sniffle or something. I bring a good N95 mask in case some unmasked person who was coughing/sneezing were to sit near me; it's never been needed. I'm not terribly concerned.

  • I gave up masking routinely in public and only do it where required (some doctors offices etc.), but I always have a mask with me in the car or my coat pocket. If I feel under the weather for anything other than a headache (I get lots of headaches, they aren't communicable), and I go out in public, on that day I mask with an N95 to avoid the possibility of spreading something. But, I've been remarkably healthy as far as communicable diseases (respiratory viruses, "stomach flu" etc.) since COVID started. I attribute this to not being around people as much.

  • I recognize now the interrelationship between politics and public health, to an extent which I couldn't have imagined three years ago. This impacts what I say or how I say it in some contexts.

Other than that, my day to day life is much the same. I'm curious to hear other perspectives. What has changed? What hasn't?
 

cls

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I really don't go anywhere these days. Masked usually. We went to a movie a month ago, thought we were the only two in the theater, but there was one other person. Work is a 4 letter word, never again I hope. I do some volunteer work, though.
 

techrat

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I'll second the movie theatre thing, but like the OP, I had pretty much given them up pre-pandemic, but now I'm doubly there.
But it's not really fear of covid as it is as much as that I just hate people.

I'm the trustee of a radio club and we open on Tuesday and Friday nights. I'm the guy who opens the clubhouse. And pre-pandemic we generally had crowded meetings every Friday night.
Even when it wasn't the business meeting. But these days, not as crowded. Heck, sometimes only a few show up. A little disappointing really.

Despite people working from home more now, I have to say that traffic in the AM and PM is just as bad, maybe worse now.
But I live in the crowded NorthEast, NJ specifically, one of the most densely populated states in the entire country.

I now do half of my grocery shopping via Amazon. Non-perishables get ordered and delivered.
But perhaps I'm just getting lazy.
 

Funkworks

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Same now as before COVID.
I adapted to COVID by getting into cycling and discovering EVs.
Since I got the vaccine and boosters, I'm not really scared of anything, so it's all back to normal for me.
 

KC3KNM

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I'll second the movie theatre thing, but like the OP, I had pretty much given them up pre-pandemic, but now I'm doubly there.
But it's not really fear of covid as it is as much as that I just hate people.

I'm the trustee of a radio club and we open on Tuesday and Friday nights. I'm the guy who opens the clubhouse. And pre-pandemic we generally had crowded meetings every Friday night.
Even when it wasn't the business meeting. But these days, not as crowded. Heck, sometimes only a few show up. A little disappointing really.

Despite people working from home more now, I have to say that traffic in the AM and PM is just as bad, maybe worse now.
But I live in the crowded NorthEast, NJ specifically, one of the most densely populated states in the entire country.

I now do half of my grocery shopping via Amazon. Non-perishables get ordered and delivered.
But perhaps I'm just getting lazy.
That wouldn't happen to be SCARC would it? That's where I tested for my license before I moved.

I don't think much changed for me, even during COVID. I was working nights at that point, and was already removed from society for the most part. :) Post-Covid normal has been more "normal" for me than Pre-COVID, oddly enough.
 

techrat

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That wouldn't happen to be SCARC would it? That's where I tested for my license before I moved.
I'm in NJ and the Radio Club is FLARC -- Fair Lawn Amateur Radio Club -- with 200 members we're the largest club in NJ now and certainly one of the most active in the Hudson division.
 

cautery

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"I" still have the same "normal" that I had before this whole dumpster fire started.

EXCEPT where OTHER people, entities, et al. are behaving like they want to DICTATE a "new normal" to me.

I will NEVER do another cruise (They kept my money for MONTHS AFTER they canceled our 10 year anniversary cruise.)
I will likely never leave this country again, as I will NEVER voluntarily take ANY of that COVID poison.
People are a LOT less considerate and friendly than they used to be.
 

Tyeeking

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I personally haven’t changed a single thing. I got COVID when this whole thing got started in February, 2020. A rough 5 days but not so much as a sniffle since (knock on some wood).

I have the antibody test done every year when I get my physical and to this day I still have antibodies so, as per the advice of two separate physicians I’ve never been vaccinated.

I don’t shy away from travel, crowds, or anything else I choose to do. I live my life just like I did before.
 

ThirstyBarbarian

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My wife and I have worked from home for something like 13 years now, so that did not change during the pandemic or after.

I carry a mask in my pocket and in my car in case I’m asked to wear it. But otherwise, I don’t wear it anymore. Maybe if some kind of crazy surge happens again, I’ll go back to it, but I feel like that is mostly over for now.

I get vaccinated and boosted on the recommended schedule and will probably continue. The whole experience made me more aware of vaccination in general, so now I get my flu shot every year, which is something I haven’t done in past years. I got my shingles shots.

We haven‘t gone to a movie theater since ”The Before Times”. I might do it for something really special or for an IMAX film, but otherwise I don’t miss it.

We have not flown on a plane since before either. We will eventually, but haven’t needed to yet.

The most profound changes have been more personal and interpersonal in nature. This was a stress test like none other, and I learned things about myself and about others that are some hard truths to get past in some cases.

I learned a lot about close friends and family who I thought I knew really well, but apparently didn’t know as well as I thought. I found out I could really count on some people, and others I couldn’t. Some people have less regard for others than I would have thought. Some people stepped up in ways I didn’t expect. It was revealing.

I know my own personality changed a bit. I’m much less patient than I was before. I get angry easier. It’s not extreme, but noticeable. I don’t care about certain things I cared about before. I think I went through a period of depression or anxiety I didn’t really understand or acknowledge at the time, and I’m not sure it’s really fully resolved. Some of my coping mechanisms were not great. On the positive side, I reaffirmed that I can get through most things as long as there is an end in sight. Without that endpoint, I don’t know, but if I can see it, I can get there.

My wife and I learned we really need to expand our social circle, and we’ve taken steps to do it. That’s not always easy at our age, but we’ve made some new friends, and it’s great.

And I’ve also internalized how fragile and short life can be, especially with my aging parents who did not do well, and we are making a lot of effort to spend more time with them than before.

And finally, I’m still fat! I’m not sure if or when I will ever get rid of this pandemic weight, the dreaded “covid 19”.
 

H_Rocket

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I'm pretty much back to my pre-pandemic norms.

I do enjoy the occasional movie, and since I prefer the 1PM matinee on weekdays, people are not much of a problem. Even in the evenings there has never been more than a handful of people at best. Snack foods have gotten ridiculously expensive.

We have gone to a number of concerts.

I'm out of the work force and the Missus has worked from home for years.

I do want to go on a cruise again and am looking about eighteen months out.

I wear a mask if, for some reason, where a place I go asks me to. In the past several months this has only been in healthcare settings.

I got quite ill from a respiratory POV during the height of the pandemic. Not Covid, a bacterial infection resulting in something called an empyema. A Thoracotomy to remove the infection has me very aware of my respiratory system and as such now make sure I have my Flu vaccine, I'm up to date on COVID vaccinations, I even got the Pneumonia shot.
 
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Marc_G

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Oh yeah, flying:
A permanent change for me is that I mask upon entering the airport and don't unmask until I'm out of the destination airport, with exceptions for eating. Airports have always been a concoction of disease and I often got something when I traveled; now it's a tight fitting N95 for my protection.

I'm also more diligent for shots; I'm boosted to the max for COVID, have my flu shot, got Shingrix during the pandemic.
 

modeltrains

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There was for a time a thing going around in the online communities (at least in the western world) for disability, incurable illness, chronic illness, immunocompromised, which went something like, "Pandemic Lockdown? Huh? What? What are all you healthy people ranting about? Nothing in my life has changed."

(And then there was the thing which was often said with a pinch of resentment, "Remember when you were telling me how easy I have it staying home all the time? What is making you so special that it is not such an easy thing for YOU to do? Huh? What is it? What makes it so different and difficult for YOU to do such an easy thing?)

So, yes, because of having endocrine, mitochondrial, neurological, musculoskeletal, autoimmune, health issues, my new normal and old normal are close enough to indistinguishable to simply be called indistinguishable.

Those health reasons had forced me to give up both church and model train club prior to the years of the pandemic.
Creating a certain sort of irony where my existing bad health apparently saved me from close exposure to that new health threat. A real life 'cloud has a silver lining' thing.

Since our local creative writers group is small I do still go to our weekly meetings.
Those meetings were paused during the height of the pandemic.

Now, I did go through the thing of deciding to continue going to writers group because that weekly getting out of the house to talk to some real live living beings other than cats is deemed critical to the maintenance of what fraction of sanity I still possess.

So while it could be said that covid created thought about the thing, the issue here is the look of old normal and new normal for this thing have not changed.

Other than as does ThirstyBarbarian keeping extra masks in my pockets and automobile, the end result is that I do the same things as the old normal and avoid the same things as the old normal.
 

Lord Rory Gin

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Its very difficult to compare - before Covid I was employed and now I'm retired. Two completely different worlds.

Yes I am vaxxed - I had to be because of work. But other than that I am treating everything else like normal. I refuse to obey the woke crowd and I will not get another vaccine shot to satisfy somebody else's hypochondriac fears. Its a vaccine that isn't a vaccine but rather a therapeutic drug. It does little to prevent the spread of Covid but it does temper the level of sickness that people experience especially the elderly or immune compromised. Neither will I mask up in public. 99% of the people around me are doing the same. I keep my hands, etc. clean to slow down spread of any kind of germs. I don't limit my exposure to the public or hide from attending public events. I do respect those who do mask up when dealing with the public (pharmacy workers, restaurant staff) and wish them the best in their duties. I do not respect idiots that continue to wear a mask while driving solo in their own vehicle.
 

cls

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It's foolish to not mask in public, there are 4+ other respiratory diseases going around right now. Nationally, this is the worst season since 2010 to 2011. You can get sick if you want, I don't care, but don't get me sick. Selfish jerk.
 

kenstarr

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Nothing is noticeably different in my woods. Every day is a new normal which seems like the previous day, month, year type thing. I saw a couple of people wearing a mask a week ago at the grocery store.
Ken
 

prfesser

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No changes for me, but wife will continue to have difficulty scheduling for employees for some time to come...

Geniece has several "floaters"; like substitute teachers, they're called in when a regular employee can't make it. Usually she won't know whether to call a floater until the night before (or worse, the morning of).

Some floaters are unvaccinated, and for the time being Land Between the Lakes requires a negative COVID test from them...24 hours before they come in for work. Kinda hard to do when someone is needed that very day. :( She could just call the vaccinated floaters but although it's a low-stress job, it's part-time and minimum wage. Hard to get and keep good floaters in the first place.

And this will continue until LBL decides to remove the restriction. As Charlie Brown would say, "BLEAUGHHH!"
 

cwbullet

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Its a vaccine that isn't a vaccine but rather a therapeutic drug. It does little to prevent the spread of Covid but it does temper the level of sickness that people experience especially the elderly or immune compromised.

As a professional in the field, I know these statements are wrong on many levels. The vaccine is what it was developed to do, and it reduces infections and deaths. Few vaccines eliminate 100% of all infections, and that is especially true with mutating viruses. The vaccine has reduced the level of symptomatology in patients who catch subsequent infections.
 

Pappy

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got lazy. i've been stuck 5 times, thinking i'm safe. just got back from a cruise, doin' open mic karaoke, huggin' strangers... yup. got sick. never been on a cruise before; was like being suspended in time... with a lot of people that really like fancy stuff. completely forgot everything but that i could get scrambled eggs, toast and coffee whenever i wanted.
 

techrat

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just got back from a cruise,
Cruise Ships are Petri Dishes. if it wasn't Covid, it would have been something else. When you first get on that ship, it may look clean, but remember that so many people drink themselves sick on those ships, the carpets are probably saturated with barf, and don't even get me started about the kitchen(s) that the patrons never get to see. Back when I was younger, I did a few "Singles Cruises" in attempts to meet the ladies. I never got ill from any of those voyages but I know people who did. But it takes an act of Congress to get me sick.
 

jderimig

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The new normal is totally different for me from 2019. I have less hair and what is left is mostly silver colored.

But other than that I am peronsally totally back to normal except for the extra precautions I take when getting on a crowed airplane. I didnt go to movies much before Covid and went to see top gun this year, late in cycle, not too many people in the theater.

Semi professionally the impact has been greater, as I dabble in electronics as a side gig the process is totally difference. Pre covid you designed your product, procured the parts and had the product produced. Now you procure the parts first then design the product. So that is not normal.
 

cwbullet

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I saw patients without a mask before the pandemic. Now, I wear a mask, and if you have symptoms consistent with COVID, I wear a face shield. I have had patients who want you to remove the mask. Their comfort is not worth infecting my staff or family.
 

Marc_G

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I would say that I'm now much more "health aware" than ever before, and pay much more attention to the health of those around me.

I can't tell if someone is sniffling due to allergies, a cold, RSV, or COVID [edit: or flu]. But if someone is obviously having some sort of issue I protect myself however it is necessary. Usually by removing myself from the area, or just by wearing a good mask if I can't exit the area.

In Asia public masking by people either at risk or suffering from a sniffle was commonplace prior to COVID. I hope this becomes part of our culture too (but, I think only a certain slice of folks would do this). In the before times, I've had Asians over here on trips express surprise at how few obviously sick folks masked, and how many of them showed up for work like that.

Let's be clear: I'm not worried about dying of COVID. Could happen, but not likely. I'm a bit worried about a mild case progressing to long COVID, which is insidious and unpredictable.

But I also don't want to be miserable for a week from a harmless but annoying cold/flu/RSV infection.
 
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NateB

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My personal life hasn't really changed. I live my life and do the things I enjoy. Most of the things I enjoy, except for live music, weren't severely impacted by the pandemic in the first place. I try to go to concerts when I can, but that is more impacted by work and family needs than covid concerns. Anyone who has been to a dive rock club knows that Covid isn't the biggest health concern in the venue anyway.

Professionally, the pandemic has turned our world upside down. The pandemic brought many concerns about staffing, scheduling, employee compensation and retention, etc to the forefront. None of these problems were caused by Covid, but now it takes the blame. Rather than working on the root causes of these issues, administrators blame covid and deny responsibility to correct them. On top of that, supply and staffing problems make getting our vehicles, parts, government blessings, and everything else take much, much longer.

Adapt and overcome is often the mantra of my profession and for the most part we are, but it's hard.
 

Cnorm

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I will never, ever forget people rejecting the free vaccine and eating horse paste/livestock de-wormer instead. I'm going to tell my grandkids about it.
One of the biggest displays of Darwinism in our time.
 

ThirstyBarbarian

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I will never, ever forget people rejecting the free vaccine and eating horse paste/livestock de-wormer instead. I'm going to tell my grandkids about it.
One of the biggest displays of Darwinism in our time.

One thing I’ve wondered about — how many people took the horse paste and then crapped out a huge tapeworm right before they died of covid?
 
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