Today my roommate reminded me of an article I wrote in Bnieuws issue CHANGE in December 2020. She told me that not that much had changed since I wrote that article. The picture that I portrayed is indeed still prevalent in our household. “Now that my days are longer, I find myself more often messing around in my room until late at night… Most of my housemates study at home every day, believing that they will be able to go to the university library again.“ My days are still long and slow as ever, but I notice that outside there is a rapid change going on. The elderly are vaccinated, the numbers and corona patients are falling and the lockdown is almost to its end. I wonder when and if we will feel any awkwardness in our way of living, because of this change.
Will we go back to normal? That's where I put my question marks. Normal is a problematic word; because when is something normal?
Definition: normal nickname. Pronunciation: [nɔrˈmal] as most common, as most people do Examples: `an espresso, a decaf, and a regular coffee`.
Okay, so normal is what happens most often. At the moment, a hug, a kiss or a study in a coffee shop is not normal. Because of the lockdown, this hardly ever happens anymore, and we all know it. Honestly, I do miss those three wet kisses and the happiness of finding that free spot on a crowded terrace or that pat on the back from my colleague I only know from the screen. But this year, many say, everything will be different, or rather: back to normal. Right?
Today I visited Amsterdam. When walking through the capital, it does Amsterdam well, there was a unexpected peaceful atmosphere. Without effort, I found a green patch of grass in the beautiful Vondelpark. My thoughts wandered to the times when there wasn't a single green spot to be seen. On summer days, the green grass is normally already packed with people at 8 a.m. The 'real' Amsterdammer probably didn't feel at home in those days. There were mainly tourists who, without real love for the park, settle down and leave all the garbage behind.
I should do it more often, but differently, leave behind what makes our lives normal— like flying, for example, thinking about whether it is necessary— but instead going on vacation in my own country, rediscovering my own tiny country with friend and family. I would almost dare to say that today's children, like me, have seen more of the world around them than where they live. According to the media, the lockdown was all about living more consciously. Has it sunk in after one year of lockdown? Will people start to think more about their new normal life or live life again to the fullest? What am I going to do is my big question?
Today is the day, had a drink on a terrace. Didn't even feel that crazy. There was no discomfort at all. As if it is indeed all normal after all. After a few drinks, it seems as if everything happens a bit further away, with no discomfort. At first, you still hold back a bit, distance, not provocative with many people at a table. Soon, as a student, it has become a standard phrase: "We are a household." We are one big household, I think. Often students are seen as the same. We don't go by the rules and make sure everyone gets corona. Not surprisingly I think, we are the most social group. We study, recreate, and expand our social contacts, beneficial for our future, no? After this drink. I have to say, I would love to live to the fullest, but I know that it’s not acceptable anymore. If I read the newspaper, the front page of Het Parool says; ‘More willingness to adopt environmentally conscious behaviour after corona crisis’. I am not the only one!
“I hold on shifting, cleaning up, and tinkering with the interior. I move plants, furniture, and other objects from one corner of my bedroom to the other.” What about me? A positive aspect, I still stick to my daily activities. Those haven't changed much. Except that I find myself less in my room, more outside in other locations. Like the faculty, which is open again, where I can be every day. I'm an exception to the rule, but it's a relief to be there one day a week for many. “After sun down, we all drink our tea, in silence or pleasantly chatting, as if we have been away all day.” However, my roommates still work from home, and we still sit together drinking tea and discussing the day. Fortunately, in the meantime, this can be done cosily on a terrace in the sun, with a beer. I feel that I’m strongly longing for the old days of fun and joy with my roommates.
The first day of summer I would say: that should be enjoyed. It's funny that everything is suddenly so much better now that there is sunshine. The sun came late this year. Last year it was already lovely T-shirt weather at the end of March. Thank goodness, because the sun has thus in its way eased the lockdown. Will the rain of this year have been a warning? It seems to be going well.
The last 25 days changed rapidly, even more than I could imagine. From asking myself, what is normal to sitting in the sun with a beer. My perception of normal switched. First is was pessimistic, but now…
I’m living my life to the fullest, yes! Living the live we can regulate at the moment and obviously enjoying it more than ever. I am not asking what is normal anymore, NOW is normal.