Our new normal has become a confined indoor space.
We have withdrawn, retreated, and have lowered our expectations… drastically. When someone asks what “we’ve been up to,” who knows how to respond? The most popular answer by far is, “not much.” Yet here we are. The panic is fading. Can you feel it too? We have found new ways to manage, reduce our risk, and navigate our world accordingly. And on top of it all, it’s Spring!
Last Spring, things were very different. Workplaces had just relocated to living rooms and kitchens. We washed groceries and wore gloves to pump gas and go to the ATM. We were vigilant, and we were afraid. We had an enemy we could not see, hold, identify, or capture. Our only option was to avoid it. The problem was that avoiding “it” meant avoiding everyone. Our well-placed fear kept us isolated. That was the right thing to do, and we did it.
We are inching out of our confinement.
We walk, say hello through our masks, and drive with the windows open. We forget our masks every once in a while. We see outdoor dining on sunny days and think, “when will I be comfortable with that?” Now? Next week? Next month? Is it safe? This past week, the CDC reduced domestic travel restrictions to not include quarantine for vaccinated individuals. Some families gathered for the recent holidays of Passover and Easter, maybe even indoors.
The COVID-19 VACCINE is a game-changer.
“Have you had your second dose yet” is the double jeopardy question of the month. I know I feel safer and as if I can relax my personal protective efforts around those who are “vaxed.” Most people in my world are at least partially vaccinated. We’ve shifted from fear of a lethal infection to a mild sickness, which I will recover from. Frankly, I sleep better at night.
I don’t fully understand the entire immune-bio-chemical method of antibody production. As a nurse, I have general knowledge but am no expert on Messenger RNA. I read, listen, watch, and decide. I chose in whom to put my trust.
No one knows what will happen in six months.
The COVID-crystal ball is out for repair. So, what do we do? We venture out. We feel safer outside, and we relish fresh air. The breeze is our friend. It brings us the air of life, and we are more aware and appreciative of it than ever before. Like the poor souls of Flint, Michigan, who will never take safe, clean water for granted, we have a new and heightened appreciation for air. What travels in it, how freeing it is to breathe it mask-free, and how much freedom we have within its clear embrace.
Our gardens are calling. The daffodils are up, and the tulips are peaking and teasing us. Buds are aplenty, and you can see the ‘haze’ on the early blooming trees. Life is coming back, and if we ever needed this “shot in the arm,” it’s this year.
It may feel awkward to engage and come out of your cave. I feel that way at times. It’s been so long since families sat at a dinner table or around the living room. We want to be aware and safe. We still want to manage our risk with vigilance, and yet we want to re-engage with life.
We have missed what we surely took for granted. We embrace our opportunities. We wear masks when we are around those we do not know; we enjoy fresh air, mask-free when appropriate. We inch out… looking left and right like crossing the street, but we are out. We dare to take those first steps, those first deep breaths. Welcome back.