In our modern moment, we live in a news cycle that runs at a sprinter’s pace for 24 hours a day, seven days a week – and less than two months ago, news of a pandemic might have seemed like the stuff of science-fiction cinema. But as COVID-19 takes the world hostage, that news cycle also provides a valuable resource for information, though it can be tricky to sort out updates from false facts about a new virus we know so little about.

There are glimmers of positivity – but they tend to be as fleeting as rainbows. No doubt, the virus will test our natural human drive to seek and to know happiness.

After all, we woke up to a new, surreal world one morning. And nothing seems the same.

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Editor’s Note: As the COVID-19 crisis unfolds in Minnesota, certain details in our stories about the impact of the virus may become outdated within hours, days or weeks of our publication. For the most up-to-date information about the coronavirus in Minnesota, please visit the websites for the Office of Governor Tim Walz and Lt. Governor Peggy Flanagan or the Minnesota Department of Health.

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If you’re someone who is able to work remotely, there you are. If you’re someone who has been laid off or furloughed, there you are. If you’re a kid no longer in the classroom, there you are.

But where exactly is “there”? If you’re like me “there” is sitting at a dining room table transformed into a makeshift desk. It doesn’t feel normal to be here, but I’d best get used to it. I have to. And my discomfort in this situation would seem like a luxury to others who can’t work from a dining room table.

But this new normal of sitting at home during 12 glorious hours of Minnesota daylight pushed me to do something I might not otherwise have entertained. As I watched people pushing strollers, walking dogs, going on bike rides, spending time outdoors together, I felt curious enough to step outside, myself, and meet some of these people strolling past.

 

To my surprise, so many of my neighbors are starting to define “there” as “outside.” The fresh air, the freedom, the ease of maintaining a safe social distance make the outdoors a natural respite for so many Minnesotans. Will it last? We’ll find out.

What are some of your new routines? Are you venturing outdoors more often? Do you have advice for others when it comes to finding new things to do? Minnesotans will thank you for it. After all, your new routine might spark a new routine for someone else.

Let us know how you’re carving out a new normal in your life.

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Twin Cities PBS Producer Luke Heikkila is also following the experience of a Minnesota family experiencing the unknowns of at-home quarantine after they returned from a vacation in England and France. Don’t miss the first installment in a series about their experience.

Because the COVID-19 pandemic is an evolving issue in Minnesota, Twin Cities PBS is producing a weekly show, Coronavirus: An Almanac Special, where we share practical information from trusted medical sources so all Minnesotans know the steps to prepare for the coronavirus. 

We also have a list of resources from trusted organizations such as the Minnesota Department of Health, the CDC and the WHO, along with articles from our friends at Next Avenue and PBS Kids. You’ll also find multilingual versions of Coronavirus: An Almanac Special in SomaliHmong and Spanish.