After spending a year living and working from home, returning to even semi-normalcy is going to be a major adjustment.
Not that we’re out of the woods yet, but as more people get the COVID-19 vaccine and life begins to return to what we once considered normal, I know I for one am going to find that return challenging.
Since getting both of my vaccinations in February, I’ve been slowly venturing back out more often than I did while we were on COVID lockdown.
I’ll admit, having underlying health conditions made the past 12 months difficult and there was a point when I think I may have become a hermit. I would barely leave the house for anything more than a walk through the neighborhood, a doctor’s appointment or to pick up the groceries we’d ordered online.
But now that I’m vaccinated, I am getting back out into the community, both for everyday life and for work, and I’m finding it’s not that easy.
I don’t know about everyone who’s been vaccinated, but I haven’t just felt the urge to rush back out into the world and start doing all the things I did before the pandemic hit. First of all, there is still a danger out there, especially with variants of the virus popping up all around us. Also, I think because there are still many people who haven’t been vaccinated yet – and a lot who never will be.
Another reason I’m not in a hurry is because I’ve come to enjoy the pace of being on lockdown. Just driving across town recently I found myself quickly annoyed by other drivers (OK, this is nothing unusual, but it has been nice to not be out on the roads every day) and having been inside a few stores recently, I’ll admit, I didn’t miss the crowds and lines I experienced while shopping.
When I’ve been back out in the public, I have found we all have a new way of doing social interaction. I’m usually asked, or I ask, whether it’s OK to shake hands or not. Fist and elbow bumps have become more normal since the pandemic, so often that’s now my standard greeting.
Keeping a mask handy and slopping on the hand sanitizer after being out somewhere has almost become ingrained in me and I almost feel undressed without having those two things with me. I fear being socially distance for all this time has possibly made me a bit germophobic, though in many ways, for someone who is immune compromised, that might not be a bad thing.
So, as the world begins to open back up, I know I, for one, will be proceeding with caution. Not just because of the virus and the continuing threat it poses, but also because of spending a year in lockdown. Rushing back into a “normal life” just sounds a little overwhelming so for me – I’ll take it in baby steps, thank you.
Gary Gould is the managing editor of the Genesee County View. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org.