A Return to “Normal…”
I have had the sensation lately, that life is starting to return to normal(ish).
The feeling began when I worked out in a fitness studio for the first time on Tuesday. It was all at once exhilarating and scary… (and also, really freaking hard as I have not done any true “exercise” besides walking since moving to Charleston). And even bigger than that: I’ve booked some trips. I’m going to California (to Palm Springs and Santa Monica) for four nights tomorrow, and I booked a quick trip back to New York for a friend’s engagement party.
I feel like I have all these different parts of me. One part is so excited and happy to get back to normal life. Another (very introverted) part of me is irritated at having to socialize again. Another part of me is just plain nervous. After 15 months of trusting science and listening to the CDC now it feels weird to be told I don’t have to wear a mask. I guess I thought maybe we’d ease into normalcy? Mostly though, I’m (cautiously) excited.
I also realize that not everyone is in the same boat.
I’m really lucky – a lot of privilege is at play. I live in the US, I am fully vaccinated, and I don’t have kids… nor am I really around kids much. Thanks to my friend Danielle, I have been thinking a lot about parents, especially if someone has an immunocompromised child. My heart broke watching a set of stories she posted earlier this week. I can’t imagine the fear that comes with being a parent who has a child with cancer as things start to reopen. Or, of course, other parts of the world. Here in the US we are so lucky to have access to the vaccine. I know not everyone is lucky. This is not something I will ever take for granted.
Right now as a fully vaccinated person I am balancing a few things.
There is of course the sensation of wanting to get back to normal and do things like travel and take workout classes. I trust science, and I have to believe that there is even more at play than we know for the CDC to make such a huge announcement. At the same time, I want to be respectful. There is still a weird thing that happens for me when I don’t wear a mask, even if I don’t actually see people when I’m outside – I don’t want to be an anti-masker!
There’s also the element of being considerate to others. If I am on a quiet street in Charleston or at the beach, I’m not going to wear a mask. But inside, in a grocery store or a pharmacy or a nail salon (or pretty much any closed space where I am not eating), the mask stays on. The mask has come to mean so much more than protecting myself (and not having to put makeup on LOL). It’s also a symbol of caring about others.
Also, I used to always get sick and have a cold. I haven’t been sick at all this year. There’s something to be said for that. I travel a lot (or traveled a lot), and probably got colds 4 or 5 times a year. That’s big. I think at the end of the day my plan is to get back to normal as best I can, but as long as it is still socially acceptable, I plan on wearing masks on public transit and when traveling, in crowded/public spaces, etdc.
I’d love to hear your thoughts on “getting back to normal,” and how you’re feeling about the CDC’s announcement! Sound off in the comments.
photo by Clay Austin.