Around the time my father turned 70 he developed symptoms that were eventually diagnosed as Multiple System Atrophy: an incurable, progressive, neurological disorder. Through the next 18 years, as he repeatedly faced new reductions in his physical capacity, various folks asked him how he was doing. His reply was always the same.
I’m adjusting to the new normal.
He adjusted with notable grace: Although he had his moments of denial, I never heard him complain.
Looking back on the last 18 months, I think I might have taken a lesson from how that phlegmatic Scots-Canadian handled an incurable, progressive, neurological disorder. I’ve adjusted to pandemic restrictions — After all, what choice did I have? — but I suspect that grace might have been underrepresented in my reactions.
But I can relax now, yes? We’re back to normal, yeah? Well, maybe a new normal.
Now we have catchier variants on the rampage, threatening to threaten our stability just when we thought the public health was settled.
We have legitimate concerns about sharing space with unvaccinated people unidentifiable as such, yet also legitimate concerns about the privacy aspects of vaccine passports, not to mention the control-freak impulses of governments, even democratic ones.
We have whack-a-mole supply-chain problems that pop up persistently but unpredictably, from unexplained-but-probably-nefarious shortages of Asian sauces to explained-but-not-readily-fixable shortages of computer chips, which latter are now used (oddly enough) in almost every product *except* vaccines.
We can travel again, to some places at least, but not with the ease of the Before Times.
I can’t do anything about my reactions for the last 18 months, but as I approach the age at which the rest of my father’s life changed, there’s still time to adjust course for the next 18. And yeah, whether it’s months or years.