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Life May Not Be The Same After This: Thoughts on The New Normal & What to Do About It

Updated: Jun 4

by Irene Chooi. |


For a lot of people, 2020 was supposed to be a year of change and new beginnings; then COVID-19 rolled around and all of a sudden the world changed. Lockdowns were put into place and our freedoms were restricted for our own safety. They were given fancy names: Movement Control Order in Malaysia and Circuit Breaker in Singapore, but the message is the same, “Stay Home”. 


When the Movement Control Order (MCO) began in Malaysia, there seemed to be a lot of hope that it would be a short term measure. Many people didn’t take it seriously, even when they closed our borders to Singapore and people started losing jobs. But then the second phase of the MCO came about and then the third and Malaysians started realising - this might be long term. 


A recent Harvard study even suggested it would be prudent to extend social distancing measures until 2022 (!) to ensure the chain really is broken. So as we sit snugly (some of us fretfully) in the third week of the Movement Control Order, I think it is time to accept that life may not be the same after this, but that’s ok! 


Here’s what I think the “New Normal” could look like in the near future and what we can do about it.


1. Bid Goodbye to Big Gatherings


Once all lockdowns are lifted, one of the biggest residual concerns would be whether it is safe to gather in a large group, since you don’t know who could still be carrying the Covid-19 virus. One of the most impacted celebrations will undoubtedly be weddings. When the MCO started, happy couples (perhaps less happy now) were forced to either delay their weddings or cancel them completely.


This worry might also impact other outings where people are packed like sardines, such as parties, concerts and even sales at shopping malls. 



On one hand, you might always have a niggling sense of worry when you see a big group of people. Looking on the bright side though, this is the perfect chance for you to take care of your wallet by slashing unnecessary expenses. 


Having a smaller wedding means you will be able to save more for your future. Cutting down on parties or social outings involving alcohol will not only save you money, but also save your liver. And do you really need that heavily discounted white dress? You don’t even like to wear white.


2. Welcome Working from Home


If there’s one good thing about the almost international lockdown, it is that companies have realised that allowing employees to work from home is not the end of the world! Of course, not all of us have jobs that come with the luxury of working from our sofa or bed, but this changes the game for a majority of people!


Being able to work from home cuts down on exhausting travel time, reduces expenses spent on getting to and fro work, and allows employees to focus more on the task at hand while actually being able to work in our underwear, it’s an open secret. 



This WFH is more than being able to work in the comfort of your bedroom slippers, this new arrangement allows us to understand ourselves better. Some people just don’t do well working from home while others thrive. Knowing where you stand on this will not only improve your understanding of yourself and your working habits, but also help you in your future career moves.


3. More Online Purchases


The online selling and buying industry was already booming before the Coronavirus hit; but since the lockdowns started, there has been a surge in people buying groceries online. Personally, I’ve tried 4 online sellers in these few short weeks alone and there are more choices out there that I’ve yet to explore. 


While a lot of these service providers are still working out kinks in their system, the New Normal will undoubtedly be ordering groceries online. If even my elderly parents like it, you know it’s here to stay. 


It is fast and simple, and the best thing about it is it cuts down on the purchase of unnecessary items. No more running to the junk food aisle just to “take a look”, no more “maybe I’ll use this” purchases. Cutting down on urge-buying means more money for you to afford what you really want, and it helps you maintain a healthy lifestyle. Trust me, I’m the girl who runs to the junk food aisle every time.



4. No Excuses for NOT Connecting


Many of my childhood friends are scattered across the country and it’s very hard for us to organise a meetup. When the Movement Control Order started, we decided to have video calls and one of the first questions we asked was “Why haven’t we been doing this earlier?”. It took an extreme situation to make us realise we could have been using video calls to stay in touch, instead of complaining about how hard it is to see each other. 


In a way, the lockdown has brought people closer together. There are more video calls going on, new chat groups are being formed, and people have been collaborating to give aid to the needy, and I bet you guys are talking to your parents more. 


The lockdown has also taken away all pressures of tedious social events. I no longer have to make up excuses to avoid going out. “The government says no” is the best excuse in the world. 


The way we connect with our loved ones may never be the same again. The lockdown has made us realise there is less need to be physically together. If that does not hold true for a handful of people in your life, you’ll know they’re the ones who mean the most to you when nothing beats their physical presence.



COVID-19 is life changing - from the way we work, to the way we interact with others and our lifestyle choices; there is a good chance life will never be the same again. When we emerge from our lockdown spaces like zombified butterflies, we’ll all be better friends with ourselves and those around us than we ever thought possible.


You can also learn more about the writer on Instagram.

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