Do you have mixed feelings about getting back to post-pandemic “normal?” I do, and I have a lot of questions.
The world outside my apartment seems like a big and scary place.
Is it safe to go out?
Go where and with whom? What activities are safe?
My gym is open at limited capacity, but I remember hearing gyms were hotbeds of potential infection. They say it shouldn’t be a problem if I’m around others who are also fully vaccinated, but how do I know who is and who isn’t? What if they’re lying?
The idea of going out to dinner and sitting in a crowded restaurant is now unsettling and makes me lose my appetite. Besides, over the last year, I’ve discovered how much money I save by not going out, and that I’m a pretty damn good cook.
No place is risk-free, just “lower risk.” How low of a risk is low? I’d like to take a road trip, maybe stay in a few hotels here and there, but who was in the room where I would check into the night before? Were they fully vaccinated? Do I have to then sleep with a mask on?
According to the CDC, even though I’ve been fully vaccinated, I should proceed with caution. I can go shopping, dine out, or go to the gym, but I should continue to wear a mask, keep my distance from others, stay away from poorly ventilated spaces, wash my hands often with soap and water, and always carry hand sanitizer on me.
I question if I actually want to go out…yet. Memories of the last great plague, the AIDS crisis have reared their ugly head for this last year and the memories aren’t good. I remember when meeting someone new, writing their name in my address book in pencil rather than pen, because of the uncertainty if they would be around much longer.
I’ve become used to staying in and have adjusted my lifestyle accordingly. Since I work from home, not much has changed on that front. But my space seems more cluttered, which is understandable and acceptable considering I rarely leave to go anywhere. Much of my exercise is yoga and Qi Gong and I do that on Zoom. Yes, I take walks but always with a mask and that has really dampened my enthusiasm for getting fresh air.
Getting Used to the Uplift of the Lockdown
Just as it took some real getting used to life in lockdown, an unexpected challenge is that it will take a similar grand-scale adjustment getting used to the idea of lockdown being over. For starters, I’ll need to shave more often, and I suppose I should start using deodorant again. I’ve become so used to wearing just a t-shirt and sweat pants, I hope at least some of my other clothes still fit me. I guess I should go back to socks and underwear too? That’s going to mean doing laundry more often again. I should also clean my desk and the entire apartment if I’m expecting to entertain others for dinners and more.
Come to think about it, lockdown had its advantages. Re-entry is going to take a lot of effort. And to what end? Wouldn’t it be easier to just stay where I am and continue living my life as a hermit?
Should I Wait for Herd-Immunity?
I’m nervous about how I’ll be able to handle social situations. I used to hug friends hello, or at least shake their hand. Will I be seen as doing it “wrong” if I go back to my old ways? I would like a hug, a kiss, and perhaps even some intimacy, but how long will it take for me to get over the idea that someone’s breath could infect me? Should I wait for herd immunity? Evidently I might have a long wait on my hands.
I fear I have become overly selfish during lockdown. I haven’t had to ask another person’s opinion on when to eat a meal, how late I stay up, or what shows to watch on television. I haven’t offered anyone else a snack or drink, and if I wanted something, I just stopped what I was doing and got it for myself. Will I remember how to be a nice person?
I Want Hugs and Kisses… and Wine Spilled on the Carpet
It seems to me it would be easier to just stay where I am and not make all of that effort to return to civilization. But that’s not what I want. I want to cook for my friends, I want them to spill wine on the carpet, I want to mix drinks for them, and I want hugs and kisses again. I need all of that to thrive and be the social person I used to be.
I Need You Back in My Life
So I will make the effort. I’m just going to go slowly and tiptoe my way back into the world. Forgive me if I seem hesitant, but know I’m trying, because I need people—I need you back in my life.
Let me know in the comments how you’re feeling about all of this.
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