22 October 2020

El amor en los tiempos del corona: The Cognitively Dissonant New Normal

These past months have been very dynamic - both physically and mentally. People keep on talking about the "new normal", yet sometimes, I find it hard to define what the new normal actually is. One thing is sure, it definitely isn't how things were back then. Yet what it is, changes, and sometimes, these changes come so fast, and in other times, it seems like there isn't a change at all.

See, I read the news, not necessarily daily, but regularly nonetheless. I see these reports of climbing numbers. Yes, as winter is around the corner, Europe is also on the verge of a second wave. The numbers are reported regularly, and when I see these numbers, I just get the picture that things get worse and worse every day. And yet, when I leave my apartment and step outside the building, the bizarre thing is that everything looks normal, exactly as I would have expected them to look like. That I must say, is confusing. Somehow, I find it difficult to reconcile what I read in the news and what I actually see outside when I step outside of my apartment.

Another aspect is that rules change all the time. There would be a new rule, and only when we're settling down and starting to get used to the new rule, then it gets lifted and replaced with something else. I don't know what's the latest now when it comes to rules regarding assembly and contact restrictions. At some point, prohibitions on accommodation were introduced by several states, only to be lifted a few days later. Since rules change all the time, it's harder to plan long-term nowadays. I guess that is also another aspect of this new normal.

In any case, I find myself confused at times. I suppose my brain wants to think there's a normal state of affairs, and yet it is having a hard time figuring out what exactly is this normal state of affairs. It definitely is not how things were pre-corona, but what the normal state now, seems to be changing on a daily basis. I suppose that is what I find cognitively dissonant - the fact that there is no normal. Everything is just on a suspended state of prolonged abnormal, and I just haven't experienced this before.

2020 is a tough year, for most people. Mental health is getting majorly taxed, and even though I have these little cognitively dissonant moments, some people have it worse than me. I supposed I am just trying to find a balance, this feeling that I have a handle on things, and for the most part I am succeeding. I just hope it continues this way, and that I weather this situation well, and come out stronger on the other side.

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