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Well Being

America's dirty little secret: A lot of us don't want to go back to normal.

America's dirty little secret: A lot of us don't want to go back to normal.

Let's begin by saying there's no one on the planet who wants COVID-19 to continue ravaging the world. The past year has been one of unspeakable tragedy and it will be years before we realize what effects it had on humanity's collective physical and mental health.

But as we begin to see the light at the end of the tunnel, some people aren't so sure they want to return to life as it was before the pandemic. They may keep it to themselves, but the sentiment is definitely out there.

Many started working from home and now love the freedom that comes with having a five-second commute and loathe the idea of returning to a life where they have to waste an hour on "looking good" every morning.



For some, the idea of returning back to their old social habits seems uncomfortable. First, no matter how effective the vaccine is, it's going to be incredibly disconcerting to be around maskless people in close quarters, like in a bar or at a concert. We've all developed natural knee-jerk reactions to people being too close and it'll be really tough to unlearn what's been ingrained for a year.

The vast majority of us went from having a healthy relationship with the world around us to living in a constant state of social distancing vigilance over the course of a week. That's going to be hard to undo.

Many people are secretly relieved they've had the perfect excuse to avoid daily social interactions over the past year. They were able to avoid the relatives that get on their nerves or didn't have to hang out with their significant other's friends they never really liked in the first place.

How I Really Feel About "Going Back to Normal"www.youtube.com


For others, the lockdown was an eye-opening experience, because they realized they were happier not dealing with some of the toxic people in their lives. Going back to normal social life means having to either re-engage with people who might trigger us or suffer the discomfort that comes with ending the relationship.

Reentering the social world also means having to confront temptations that we were able to avoid for an entire year, whether it's drugs, sex, smoking, gambling, or ordering an extra dessert while eating out.

"As horrible and tragic as this past year has been, I do believe it was a much-needed reset for so many people," Kelsey Darragh, a filmmaker who suffers from anxiety and wrote a book about mental health during the pandemic called "Don't F---ing Panic," told Today. "We got to just be gentle with ourselves."

A lot of people are feeling anxious about things returning to "normal" because they now realize they weren't happy before the pandemic.


Whether you are hesitant for things to go back to normal or ready to rip your front door off its hinges, we should all take these (hopefully!) final few months of COVID-19 to recognize that we've all been through a severely traumatizing time. Now's a great time to take some personal inventory, consider where we were before the pandemic, and where we're headed.

What have you learned the past year that can help make your post-pandemic life even better than it was before?

"It becomes a very anxiety-producing moment in the life of a survivor when they return to normal," Deborah Serani, a psychologist, and professor at Adelphi University told Today. "Except now, with the pandemic, we're all doing that."

"We are emerging from this together, globally," Serani said. "It's OK to be gentle with yourself. It's OK to feel unsure. It's OK to feel insecure. It's OK to say, 'How do I do this dance? I don't remember.' It's OK to feel anxious and nervous. You're not alone in that."

If you're feeling anxious about life returning to normal, take solace in the idea that you're not the only one. In fact, everyone has to carry some anxiety about the big changes on the horizon.

Also, remember that you're not in this alone. COVID-19 has affected everyone. So there will be plenty of people out there that you can throw your arm around tight — for the first time in months — and ask, "Ready to go out?"

Finally, someone explains why we all need subtitles

It seems everyone needs subtitles nowadays in order to "hear" the television. This is something that has become more common over the past decade and it's caused people to question if their hearing is going bad or if perhaps actors have gotten lazy with enunciation.

So if you've been wondering if it's just you who needs subtitles in order to watch the latest marathon-worthy show, worry no more. Vox video producer Edward Vega interviewed dialogue editor Austin Olivia Kendrick to get to the bottom of why we can't seem to make out what the actors are saying anymore. It turns out it's technology's fault, and to get to how we got here, Vega and Kendrick took us back in time.

They first explained that way back when movies were first moving from silent film to spoken dialogue, actors had to enunciate and project loudly while speaking directly into a large microphone. If they spoke and moved like actors do today, it would sound almost as if someone were giving a drive-by soliloquy while circling the block. You'd only hear every other sentence or two.

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Bengals wide receiver Chad Johnson in 2006.

A startling number of professional athletes face financial hardships after they retire. The big reason is that even though they make a lot of money, the average sports career is relatively short: 3.3 years in the NFL; 4.6 years in the NBA; and 5.6 years in MLB. During that time, athletes often dole out money to friends and family members who helped them along the way and can fall victim to living lavish, unsustainable lifestyles.

After the athlete retires they are likely to earn a lot less money, and if they don’t adjust their spending, they’re in for some serious trouble.

In a candid interview with NFL Hall of Famer and TV personality Shannon Sharpe, Chad Ochocinco (legally Chad Johnson) revealed that he saved 80 to 83% of the $48 million he made in the NFL by faking his lavish lifestyle because it made no sense to him.

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Nature

Pennsylvania home is the entrance to a cave that’s been closed for 70 years

You can only access the cave from the basement of the home and it’s open for business.

This Pennsylvania home is the entrance to a cave.

Have you ever seen something in a movie or online and thought, "That's totally fake," only to find out it's absolutely a real thing? That's sort of how this house in Pennsylvania comes across. It just seems too fantastical to be real, and yet somehow it actually exists.

The home sits between Greencastle and Mercersburg, Pennsylvania, and houses a pretty unique public secret. There's a cave in the basement. Not a man cave or a basement that makes you feel like you're in a cave, but an actual cave that you can't get to unless you go through the house.

Turns out the cave was discovered in the 1830s on the land of John Coffey, according to Uncovering PA, but the story of how it was found is unclear. People would climb down into the cave to explore occasionally until the land was leased about 100 years later and a small structure was built over the cave opening.

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Family

American mom living in Germany lists postpartum support and women are gobsmacked

“Every video you make gets me closer to actually moving to Germany.”

U.S. mom living in Germany shares postpartum support she received.

Having a baby is not an easy feat no matter which way they come out. The pregnant person is either laboring for hours and then pushing for what feels like even more hours, or they're getting cut from hip to hip to bring about their bundle of joy. (Unless you're one of those lucky—or rather not-so-lucky—folks who get to labor for hours only to still end up in surgery.)

Giving birth is hard and healing afterward can feel dang near impossible, especially given that most states in the U.S. only offer six weeks of maternity leave and it's typically unpaid. But did you know that not everyone has that experience?

A mom who had her first child in the U.S. before meeting her current husband and relocating to Germany is shedding light on postpartum care in her new country. The stark contrast is beyond shocking to women living in the U.S. and she's got a few considering crossing the ocean for a better quality of life.

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Meghan Elinor chimes in on the Starbucks tipping debate.

Tipping culture is rapidly changing in America, so understandably a lot of people aren’t sure what to do when they buy a coffee and the debit card reader asks for a tip. It used to be that people only tipped bartenders, drivers, servers and hairdressers.

Now people are being asked to tip just about any time they encounter a point-of-sale system. There is a big difference between tipping a server who lugged around hot plates of food for an hour-long meal and someone who simply handed you an ice cream cone.

"We're living in an era of inflation, but on top of that, we've got tipping everywhere—tipflation. I take it a step further and call it a tipping invasion. Because that's really what I think it is," etiquette expert Thomas Farley (aka Mister Manners) told CBS 8.

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Pop Culture

One moment in history shot Tracy Chapman to music stardom. Watch it now.

She captivated millions with nothing but her guitar and an iconic voice.

Imagine being in the crowd and hearing "Fast Car" for the first time

While a catchy hook might make a song go viral, very few songs create such a unifying impact that they achieve timeless resonance. Tracy Chapman’s “Fast Car” is one of those songs.

So much courage and raw honesty is packed into the lyrics, only to be elevated by Chapman’s signature androgynous and soulful voice. Imagine being in the crowd and seeing her as a relatively unknown talent and hearing that song for the first time. Would you instantly recognize that you were witnessing a pivotal moment in musical history?

For concert goers at Wembley Stadium in the late 80s, this was the scenario.

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