Has anyone else been struck with the realization that the act of returning to normal is, itself, rife with weirdness? For example… We have tentative plans to go to the beach this Saturday. Throughout my life going to the beach has been has easy as walking outside and down one block and as difficult as driving a couple hours. So not very difficult at all. But what once would have been completely second nature to me – picking a beach and knowing what amenities were in the area, how long it would take to travel there, if it was really a beach or if it was more like a boardwalk/wharf/whatever type of situation… Now when I think about driving out to Carpinteria, for example, I have to search for the City of Carpinteria online and find out what their reopening guidelines are. What are the mandates for vaccinated people? Carpinteria is in Santa Barbara County which is a lot different from Ventura County where the very nice San Buena Ventura Beach is (I used to come here a lot when I was kid, and nearly drowned twice). Is there a parking fee? What’s the bathroom situation?

Oh yeah… and what about my kid?

That’s pretttttty much the biggest difference for me. Pre-pandemic Crystal had no child. Pandemic but Vaccinated Crystal has a five month old baby who is currently teething, learning to sit-up and learning to crawl. How do I change a diaper on the beach? Is a beach umbrella enough? I ordered this kid-size mini tent that offers SPF protection so that he can sleep if we were at the beachbeach. The one with sand where you lay out and that’s your day. Maybe you build a sand castle.

How does one return to whatever NORMALCY is when what was normal before the pandemic is no longer the same situation you return to post-pandemic? Everything in my life has changed since having Rowan. We live hours away from the closest beach. I know he can make the drive there but what happens once we get there? Would it be easier to go to a beach town like Carpinteria where we aren’t sitting on a towel under an umbrella on the beach figuring out how to discreetly change a baby’s diaper? I know where the grocery store is in case I need to make an emergency trip. Is the city even open? The city’s economy relies very heavily on tourism. I know, I used to live there a long, long time ago when the beach was a block outside my front door.

A few weeks later…

The beach never happened. Or rather our plans fell through and they just kept on falling. It’s been a tough few weeks. But I’ve been thinking so much more about this concept of normalcy and the conclusion I have come to is that there is no such thing as normalcy for me right now. Nothing familiar to return to now that we are standing in the lighter end of the pandemic tunnel. Life simply evolves and we can try and keep up with it or…. I’m not really sure or what.

I suppose normal might not be the norm for quite some time. Not just because the effects of the pandemic are here with us for the long haul, but because I’m still figuring out what my new normal will look like.

What does “normal” look like for you?