I get my first vaccine shot this week. I’ll keep following public health guidelines, but what a relief it will be to soon not worry about catching covid myself. I foresee a summer of porch visits and maybe even a restaurant patio once servers get a chance to get their shots too. I’m even starting to dream about going *inside* libraries and museums.
But I’m not excited about things getting back to normal. I wasn’t thrilled with normal. How did you feel about your daily life before the pandemic? I was a bit burned out and remember the wave of relief washing over me those first few mornings that did not involve three of us taking turns in the bathroom and kitchen, rushing to leave the house for the day and crashing back home later, too spent to do much of anything fun at all.
In the winter, I didn’t see the sun some days, walking to and from work in the dark and spending my days in a windowless office and meeting rooms. I daydreamed about upcoming escapes – to a writing workshop, a yurt, New York City – and the promise of getting away from normal for awhile. I started to skip lunchtime yoga because it was too hard to keep up with an instructor whose pace felt like watching a YouTube video on 1.75x speed. Finding yoga too stressful was a sign I was struggling for sure. I knew I was clinging to trips and events as ways to avoid facing whatever was bothering me, but to be fair, that’s been my coping mechanism for ages and I don’t regret it for a second 😁. Then, boom. COVID.
This past year was difficult in unprecedented ways, including having the word unprecedented filling up newsfeeds and conversations. I am eager to get back some of the freedoms I took for granted, but I don’t want my precedented life back.
I got rid of all my pants with zippers and buttons, I gave away formal shirts and blouses, and never being a fan of bras in the first place, I got rid of all but one that’s really just a short camisole. I promised myself I could spend the rest of my life wearing clothes that I like. I mean, I wrote it down – I have a signed permission slip for Karen Lowry to wear whatever the heck she wants to each day.
I was able to move to a new office at work and have a glorious window now, so there will be no more fully dark days. I’m not there often yet but when I am, even on short December days I get a view of the sunrise. (The picture above may not be a stunning landscape, but compared to no windows? It makes my heart sing!)
Will vaccination, comfy clothes, and sunlight help? YES. So much.
So why am I still filled with dread? That’s why I’m writing this. Putting my fingers on the keyboard to put my finger on the source of my angst. I have less than a year left at my day job, and while it’s been exceptionally stressful during the pandemic, much of my day-to-day work is already back to how it was before. I do prefer working from home, where my schedule and routine suits my work habits better, but this pit in my stomach is bigger than the inconvenience of shifting back to an office schedule.
I’m worried about having to rush again.
I miss kids’ school shows, having drinks with friends, eating out, travelling, and live music. I don’t miss doing all of those things every single month.
There it is. My fear is that once it’s safe, everyone will want to do ALL THE THINGS right away. I need my life to be on 0.75x speed, maybe even 0.5x. I won’t rush back into life, I’ll savour each step, watch the sun rise, and continue my slow yoga.