Adjusting to the New Normal

It’s almost three months now and we are still on quarantine. Here in the Philippines, we have already come up with different labels of quarantine – general, extended, modified extended, modified general. But whatever and however the government labeled it, it’s not changing the fact that there is still no vaccine and the number of confirmed cases is still going up. And unfortunately, we are not seeing yet an immediate solution to this global Covid19 pandemic. But life has to move on and we have to move forward.

Humans are innately reactive and adaptive towards whatever environment they are living. So naturally, we have started adapting to our current environment. At first, there was panic and unrest. People are hoarding groceries and panic buying. There were a lot of complaints against actions taken by the government (or the lack thereof). There was chaos. There was fear.

But fear breeds order. Chaos breeds necessity. Necessity breeds opportunity. And so as humans, we rise from chaos and fear to take the opportunity to fend for ourselves. New business models were established to cater to the essential needs of the public. Online shopping and equally, online payments have become a thing overnight. Businesses on the side of leisure and entertainment went drastically down but demand on food, health, safety and logistics increase exponentially.

In a span of almost three months, a new lifestyle was born. By just the touch of our fingertips, we can have all our needed essentials, including food and water, delivered straight into our homes. Before the pandemic, cash is king. But due to fear of transmission, the king is dethroned by the intangible technology.

In this current situation, technology is like saying “I told you so.” to countries who failed to keep up with it, ours included. In order for you to survive, you need to be familiar with the world wide web. You cannot get your essential needs and pay them at the tip of your fingers if it doesn’t know where it’s tapping to. Technology has no bias to either age or status, you just need to get to be acquainted. Basic internet know-how is a must so you can at least do transactions online. Also, having a strong Wi-Fi connection to enable you to work remotely is a major plus so you can do everything at the comfort and safety of your home.

Unfortunately, being in a third world country puts us at a disadvantage. We are in a country where ranking for Internet connection is very low. Hence, as much as working remotely and staying away from the congested and most likely infected cities are supposed to be called the new normal, looks like we’re instead doing it backwards. Our country do not have the resources like a first world country does and is now left without a choice but to lift down the quarantine in the hope of recovering our economy. As humans, the aim is to adjust to the new lifestyle that we have created for this harsh and anxious situation – the supposedly new normal. But sadly, with depleting resources and funds and no proper system in place, it seems that we are just going back to the “old normal with some slight modifications”. Cases are increasing but we lift down the quarantine. Cases are increasing but we are being called out to work and return to the cities. Cases are increasing and we are now left to our own devices to survive.

I don’t know what will happen in the future. One can just be hopeful that as the sun sets for today, it too shall rise again the following day. So I’m still keeping my hopes up that it will not be too late for most of us to realize that we need to adapt to the true new normal and not go back to our old ways. ‘Coz even with its “modifications”, it might just end up as a temporary band-aid that might just cause us more damage in the long run.