Get Ready World, I’m Vaccinated And —!

I want life to remain pretty much the same

Open for business. Sort of. (Photo by Narelle Mishel)

Today I’m fully vaccinated. Watch out world, here I come!….

(I wish you could hear how loudly my husband is laughing at this.)

As it turns out, I’m putting my toe very tentatively, slowly, warily back into . . . what exactly? — normal life? No. Gathering with people indoors? Not ready! Going out to eat? I’m good. So WHAT exactly?

For starters, it’s been nice to share a few hugs with friends. My mom is visiting next week, so that will be our merge back into indoor meals that include more than two people — my husband and me.

For the last three mornings, I’ve grabbed my computer and headed straight to a local coffee shop, where I’ve sat outside along a murky slew settled into a beautiful green belt in the middle of a city.

Cafe sanctuary in the middle of interstates and industry. (Photo by author)

To start the day writing away from home has been a roaring mood lift. The downside is, I can see the former co-working space I belonged to from where I sit. I stare at it longingly and with some jealousy at the e-finance team that’s settled in there. My co-working space didn’t survive the pandemic.

So far, I’ve balked at a few group invitations because, well, I’ve been in Covid Cop mode for 14 months, and now instead of seeing a gathering of, say, five people, I see it as five families and exposure systems. I’m a bundle of fun. I suppose I’ll come out of my deep freeze in time. My county is in the midst of rising cases, and we might go back a phase so there is still some concern.

Still, with the vaccine comes an easing up of the muscles around the shoulders, a loosening of the jaw clench, an opening of doors as people become inoculated to severe illness. The judgment around how others are behaving has loosened.

And, there’s a screaming resistance:

I’m not ready!

WTF?

How much of covid life, the quieting down, the simplicity of a streamlined social life can I hold on to? I’ve cultivated a neighborhood social life, new friendships close to home, rallying pals at the pool down the street from my house; meeting someone for a pre-dinner walk a block from where I live. Does it get much better?

What I’ve especially loved has been the sabbatical from evening plans — more specifically from having to even consider evening plans. I’ve never loved the weeknight evening outing, the gathering myself up, the pep talk, the slapping my tired cheeks, and getting in the mood to be out in the world after a full day of work. At day’s end, all I want to do is hang a “gone fishing” sign from my neck and settle into dinner, a TV show, reading, bedtime. I’m ready to keep this ritual going for years to come.

With the first invitations for gatherings — social as well as artsy retreat events, comes new mental logistics:

  • Is everyone vaccinated — and can I even ask?
  • How about those who are vax hesitant/resistant? And what do I do about that?
  • How do you take a sweet, loving invitation to gather in an artist studio without sounding like a sergeant: Ahem, is everyone vaxed, any underlying conditions, will there be masks, are you planning to get vaxed?

Christ almighty. I don’t want to be that person. I’ve spent the last 14 months being the covid cop in my family. Enough already.

Something else is lurking here too. Not just a hesitancy about coming out from a covid mindset but this:

Am I going to use covid as an excuse to avoid social engagements?

It’s so easy, right? I’ve brought this up with a handful of friends — on walks, during swim kick sets — and I’m not alone. Other people are also poking their shy turtle heads out, starting with small family gatherings, reluctant to emerge from the comfort of a streamlined social life.

“Covid don’t go!” one friend joked. Wait, maybe that was me.

The conclusion is only this: I see it. I see how I might want to hide behind covid to excuse myself from an invitation when the truth is really, I don’t want to. No thank you.

So a new opportunity presents itself: Why not be honest about it?
What’s so wrong about admitting that rousing myself for an evening gathering is a “no,” and how about Saturday at 2 pm instead?

If I want to stay home — for the 400th night in a row — arguing with my husband over what to watch on Netflix after another pasta dinner, why not?

Writer, coach, swimmer, late-marrier. Guide, companion, and explorer at the trailhead of Everyday Creative Coaching: www.everydaycreative.net

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