Return to normalcy

Yesterday, Singapore entered Phase 2 of its reopening after the circuit breaker measures were officially lifted. Being extremely excited, I took the day off work to finally get back into climbing since the gyms were now open. While I was happy to be walking around in a mall and actuallly see other people after two months of staying at home, I felt a hint of loss for the lifestyle I'd adopted. It felt strange, almost as if I've grown to enjoy the routine of spending the whole day at my desk.

I think I adapted well to the new lifestyle in lockdown, partly because my job as a software engineer affords it, and partly because the introvert within me enjoys the peace and solitude. Of course, there were some highs and lows during the journey. At some points I wished the world would remain in lockdown forever, at others I longed for the company of my friends after being nearly burnt out from my projects. But still, I managed to hold up decently. Maybe this is why it feels so awkward — we're slowly returning to normal life, which just doesn't seem so normal anymore.

And I'm really not sure how to feel about this. While I'm glad to finally be able to catch up with my friends in-person, I'm afraid that this return to normalcy will erode the progress I've made through the reflection and self-discovery while in isolation.

Furthermore, we aren't really returning to life as it was before COVID. There are still many measures in place, and to me they augment the experience of going out enough that it doesn't feel like my old lifestyle. We have to scan QR codes everywhere we go, masks are still compulsory and we're still limited to groups of five. We aren't really returning to the life of old, but to a newer new, to which we once again have to adapt to.

That being said, I probably overhyped the reopening for myself, which could have cast these doubts I'm feeling now. I had done some training on grip strength and pull-ups while at home, and I overestimated the progress I would make on the climbing wall, of which I made none.

This is all only speculation on what we're going to experience over the next few weeks, as I leave my house more frequently for work or to catch up with people. I think the best thing I could do now would just be to observe my interactions and emotions while navigating this change, and keep writing about them.