We all have been told to live with the virus – a not-so-reassuring direction which has broken hopes of seeing an end to this global catastrophe anytime soon. Eventually, the concept of “new normal” has been introduced to which the entire world has drastically shifted into. If it came with a handbook, it pretty much would include religious wearing of masks, perpetual handwashing, and stern physical distancing measures in its first few chapters.

As the virus remained predominantly active, we all had to carry on with our lives sans the normalcy. Dining in to restaurants with friends are not as inviting as before anymore because you now have to be in a socially-distanced arrangement, which makes it hard to rub shoulders with your buddy #4 who is seated at the opposite end of the table. Walks in the park also had to be a bit different as you now can’t just easily pinch a baby’s cheek whom you find adorable, unless you want to be in a fight with a mom who would aggressively question if your hands have been thoroughly sanitized or not. You couldn’t even celebrate small victories with your officemates by rounding up for a group hug as that would now be a breach of minimum public health standards.

One way or another, we may have all felt that this pandemic has slowly been sucking the lives out of everyone. With the recurring lockdowns, collapsing economies, sudden deaths and more, we are all left with one question: “Is the new normal really normal?”

You may have found yourself losing the motivation in doing the things that used to spark so much joy. Your once burning passion in a certain activity may now be a bit less fiery. Your once clear sight in your career path may now have become a little blurry. You may even struggle in connecting with your friends as it may have been hard finding your way into reconnecting with yourself. Believe it or not, these feelings are completely valid.

Finding a silver lining during these truly unprecedented times is not a requirement. It is perfectly fine to feel empty, and it is healthy to acknowledge that you are going through this to rightfully process and manage your emotions. But one thing you may consider is trying to rebuild what has been lost – may it be dealing upfront with the death of a loved one or just slowly resuming that one project that made you stay up all night pre-pandemic. Rekindling something will definitely feel scary, it should be, but it would most certainly make your heart feel more alive amid the emptiness.

So really, how normal is the new normal? Quite frankly, none of these things are normal. But you have the choice to thrive through the hard times. You have the power to get through the pain, the fear, the sleepless nights, the anxiety, and the doubt. You may overcome all these and more by having self-awareness, acknowledging that you cannot always be the strongest person in the room. By having to realize this yourself, it should be easier for you to get going.

The entire process of moving forward might be frightening. A long list of what-ifs would circle around your head like:

“What if I go back to dancing but eventually would lose touch of it again?”

“What if I go back to writing but would not be aware of my tone anymore?

“What if music is really not for me to pursue?

These are just some of the many questions that may leave you wondering if it’s even worth trying. But as Abel Morales would say: “When it feels scary to jump, that is exactly when you jump.”

So, when is your next jump?