“I’ve got both—what a weight off my shoulders. I’m feeling relieved and hopeful.”
For many of us, the re-entry process has begun. Re-entry into a more normal life: not so much back to normal, but to what most folks are calling the new normal. And that evokes a variety of feelings and actions.
For me, the feeling is relief and hopefulness. After a year of restricted lifestyle, it feels good to drop the fear—fear of the unknown, and even the fear of premature death that hung over me for a year. There are some qualifiers to the relief, however, as there is still a level of uncertainty. How protected are we from mutating strains? When will we be able to party safely in large groups? And most importantly, just who is it safe to hug?
The pandemic also raised questions of vulnerability and personal power—how much power do I really have over my life?
I’ve noticed a change in actions as well. An increase in boldness. The beginnings of carelessness. The 6-foot social distance has, in many cases become the 3-foot distance. The air hugs are moving closer. Just the other day, a person whom I had just met rushed me with an arms-around-my-neck hug.
There are lingering questions and the answers are filtering in. My greatest disappointment upon receiving my second vaccination, was the lack of an advice hand-out sheet—Do’s and Don’ts After Your Covid-19 Vaccination.
Simple things have become more exciting. Two weeks after my second shot, I went straight to the salon for a pedicure, after a year of being my own nail tech, and creating five new yoga poses as I struggled to reach my toes. Next stop, the supermarket, to make in-person selections and visit with my favorite check-out lady. My children had done my grocery shopping for a year to keep Mom healthy and alive.
As we reflect on the experiences we’ve missed since March of 2020, let us also plan the logistics of our safe re-entry. It’s important to choose our experts wisely. I rely on advice that is science based. Officials with the power to lift restrictions are not always motivated by my best interests. Until herd immunity is reached, we would do well to continue taking into account not only our own healthy wellbeing, but the wellbeing of people around us. Public re-entry still includes wearing a mask and social distancing.
Are there lessons to be learned from this past year of unwelcome confinement? I’ve heard many say they have a greater appreciation of friends and family. I’ve always been conscious of the importance of the people in my life, so this was not a Covid lesson for me. But as a single woman, resourcefulness and resiliency are two qualities that were enhanced for me.
It is projected that all adult Floridians will be eligible for the vaccine by May of this year. With this encouraging prediction, I wish you all a safe and happy re-entry.