Is this the New Normal?
Updated: Nov 2, 2021
As 2021 began, I was full of cautious optimism. As soon as I could, I received both of my vaccines and began to reengage with people that I hadn't seen or interacted with in almost a year. It felt wonderful.
As time passed, and the CDC judged it safe, I happily took off my mask and began to lead a life reminiscent of the one pre-Covid. Everything began to feel so familiar and I was loving that familiarity.
I started filling my fall and winter schedule with Festival events, giddily anticipating that things were just going to keep getting better; fully embracing that the world was opening back up. Unfortunately, I was wrong.
I find myself back where I was a year ago, donning my mask, and watching as my fall festival shows start canceling and I see nothing but a long stretch of empty months. As someone that began making their living as a art festival and market artist back in 2013, I feel like the ground beneath is crumbling and vanishing.
What if this is the New Normal? What if we won't be able to return to the large festivals and concerts and events that we'd become accustomed to? Is my way of life vanishing for all time?
As the panic began to set in, I desperately tried to think of a solution. I went so far as to start googling graduate programs, trying to figure out how soon I could launch a brand new life.
A few days later, and a little calmer, I've put the graduate programs on the back burner still marked with a *maybe. The ground still feels precarious beneath my feet. I don't know if I will ever be able to return to the life that I knew as a professional art festival artist, but I do know that I've changed paths before and I survived.
The difference, this time, is that I truly love what I do. I know I complain about hot days and freak rain storms and the physical effort of lugging my work and my canopy out to the market every weekend, but I love it. I didn't want to picture another path or a different life. I liked the one that I had.
It may be that we will go back to large gatherings in the spring. Maybe we will get this pandemic under control in the next few months, but maybe we won't. Maybe the Corona Virus becomes a permanent part of the New Normal and we can no longer have large gatherings and the large festivals become a thing of the past.
I am truly saddened by this possibility, but the pandemic pushed me out of my shell and I've been experimenting with new things: creating videos and doing live streaming. I started evolving and transforming against my better judgement because circumstances changed.
Maybe now I will really start understanding social media and learn how to connect with the larger world via the internet instead of at large gatherings. I miss the excitement and the crowds, but I will survive. We will survive this.
I don't know truly what the New Normal will look like, but we're adaptable and we will adapt even if we would rather not.
Stay safe out there! We will survive this and we will evolve.