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It’s a phrase you hear a lot lately, usually with some sense of regret. The new normal. As if somehow we have lost something precious we used to have and now must make do with something less. 

I reject this position utterly. Was there something so great about the old normal that it’s worth lamenting? Does anything we “lost” really outweigh what we’ve gained? I don’t believe so. 

Think about it. We have a greater appreciation for life and society now than we did 1.5 years ago because we now know what we have to lose. We appreciate friends and family more because we know what it’s like to be without them.  

We proved we can pull together when the chips are down and work toward a single goal.  

We proved to our neighbours and communities that yes, we care about you as much as we care about ourselves. By wearing masks and observing personal distance, we prevented spreading anything we might have to others. 

Our politicians supported us and largely avoided petty partisanship at the height of the crisis so we as Canadians could focus on staying healthy. This is already disappearing as we emerge from the pandemic and as both national and provincial elections loom, but at least they showed it was possible. 

Do I mourn the old normal? Not one little bit. I’m hopeful and grateful for all the benefits the new normal represents. I’m positive about the future. It feels good to see businesses open their doors again, to see people outside and able to connect with family.  

So what if we had to get a couple of needles? Why not keep wearing a mask? Did you see how low instances of the flu and common cold fell during the pandemic? That can save lives even after COVID-19 becomes a memory. 

One of the lessons the pandemic taught me personally is to look inwards and be grateful for the things we have and to have a positive outlook about the future. It feels good to be back to sharing stories and working on projects.  

Some of those projects include the opening of our new co-working venture the Creative Hub, which resumed construction after lockdown delays. Our new date for the official opening is Sept. 1. 

We’re also hard at work planning our Mosaic festivals, both the music and film version, and hope to have both of them in-person and online this year. 

Our international student’s bursary program is back. We selected four international student winners this summer and will be announcing their names and printing their essays soon. 

We have expanded the Most Inspiring Immigrants initiative to include Newfoundland and Labrador this year. Nominations are still ongoing, and we have assembled a new advisory board of highly esteemed individuals to work with us to pick the next honourees. 

We urge everyone to support local businesses. They are the engine of the economy, and this is how we can jumpstart the economy.  

We want to thank all the health care workers for their work on the frontlines, many of whom were new Canadians and immigrants. It’s their example that makes me hopefully for a bright and positive future. 

Ifeanyi Emesih

Ifeanyi Emesih is a serial entrepreneur, community leader, marketing expert, visionary and innovator. Ifeanyi is the Founder and Chairman of My East Coast Experience Media Group. Emesih chose to make Halifax his home and has since drawn on his own experiences to create a platform for others to share their own immigrant stories with their own communities.

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