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The New Normal pt 2

by Beth McGuyton on July 2, 2020
The New Normal pt 2

The internet community joyously proclaimed the Panamanian government announcement of loosening restrictions on May 26th. Freedom to roam within your sanitary fence boundaries from 5:00 am to 7:00 pm every day. Swore I heard a collective sigh of relief rise up as the future now looked positive.

The pandemic’s impacts are vast, only few beginning to surface. Beyond the cost of lives and the economy, each individual experience has and will go through changes.

I was reading a dystopian novel yesterday, agreed perhaps not the best timing, and one character comments they are in the acceptance stage of grieving as the world crumbles around them.

Though doubtful a foretelling of our situation, it caused some research and then reflection on The Five Stages of Grief. From the initial denial the virus would permeate far reaching corners and us, to anger as freedoms were restricted for the greater good to bargaining for at least alcohol or the beach. When all of these steps processed through varying degrees and durations eventually depression related to your complete lack of control kicked in.

The final stage in the process is acceptance. Hugging our family and friends may be a thing of the past, for sure handshakes are done. Masks in public to safeguard the “we” as well as the “me”. Continued social distancing and handwashing.  This is worldwide for the foreseeable future.

Acceptance of what is out of your control is a hard pill. But we will all get there. It is the new normal.

From this pain something new has come. Every story is different, valid and to be heard with kindness above all. Look to the community members who have dedicated their time and energy and in many cases safety, to remind you of the goodness that brought us here in the first place.

Our Panamanian communities need us to move forward in a positive way, not ignoring surrounding issues but seeking ways to alleviate or fix them.

Keep in mind, the virus remains in play at all times. Consider yourself as an asymptomatic carrier as you interact in public and act accordingly. Contracting the virus is through time and exposure, breathing, talking, singing, coughing, sneezing, primary to transmission. Masks are key particularly in closed in settings.

June 1 we were able to all go outside (adults particularly, kids more limited hours) and the onus was on us to be cognizant, considerate and careful. Little we knew it would only last one week before Panamanian government would tighten restrictions again. Along with desperation came uncertainty about the path we are following.  Maintaining the freedoms, when granted, is based on each of us to act responsibly, the inevitability of a second wave may not be carved in stone.

So, my piece of advice for all of us is: Let’s use our new freedom wisely, let’s do what makes us happy within the boundaries, stock up on the things we missed most, reach out and check up on friends, family, neighbors always via social distancing.

In the beaches area, we fared very well, only a couple of cases which did not spread. Closing beaches was and continues to be a huge factor in our safe bubble. As much as the beach calls, do your best to control the urge. It won’t just be you once the restrictions ease.

A little more patience beyond this moment will go a long way. We will flatten the curve, maintain the health infrastructure through our collective efforts.

We have an amazing community, wonderful people, boundless natural beauty surrounding us, so much beyond waking up every morning to be thankful for.


Keep your head up, stay safe, healthy, until we meet again … namaste.

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