I have found that as we passed the one year mark of pandemic togetherness that more than anything I crave my alone time. It’s a yearning so strong that it makes me ache. As Facebook memories show up reminding me of those early days of lockdown, they seem so distant. And really familiar. A year ago I wasn’t able to wrap my head around the possibility of what was happening. It was frightening. And stressful. One of the few comforts was knowing that it wasn’t only me. Everyone was struggling to find their footing in time when had found their life turned on its side.
I thought I did a fairly decent job of adapting to a new normal that included less contact with the outside world (which I embraced) and more contact within my safe bubble (which was good too until it began to get old). As time passed it became easier to see where people fell and anti-maskers and guideline breakers revealed themselves. It was disheartening to see who did not practice safety measures but were the first to complain often and loudly how things had to get back to normal. It still makes me angry. The numbers in our area (and probably many other areas as well) would have dropped drastically if people had just done what they were being asked. Instead the very people causing things to drag on were making life miserable for everyone else as well as themselves.
As the country and the world are attempting to open up, every location in a slightly different stage, I’m not looking forward to it. I’m finding that I’m more calm when I’m at home. And I can only re-charge when I have plenty of solitary time. After a year here with my bubble people, I find it difficult to block out the sound of them in the house. Usually this would be the opposite for me and I would be subconsciously redirecting their presence to background noise when needed. Now it feels as if I hear everything. I’ve come to realize that my bubble has become the outside world that I would come home to block out. There’s been a shift and while I struggle to deal with it, I find myself searching for patience that has been used up for far too long now. We are all in this together and I keep that thought in the forefront of my mind as I work through this latest realization.
I’m cautiously hopeful as I watch my Facebook feed fill with posts about first and second vaccinations. I’m happy for those who are vaccinated, especially because they seem to have a sort of lightheartedness and hopefulness that I have yet to feel. I am relieved and blessed that everyone in my family has either been fully vaccinated or have had their first dose with the second on the horizon. I’m the last person in my family standing – still unvaccinated for now. Being in the last group…the biggest group…. the everyone else in the world group, I know that my turn is coming and it’s coming sooner than originally projected.
We still have a ways to go before things will get back to a normal that feels anything like the old normal. And in our house, we won’t be rushing out to eat in restaurants or gather in large groups any time in the near future. We will be playing it safe for the time being. But we are hopeful for that time to come when we feel comfortable and until then, if you can’t find me, I’m probably hiding in some room with the door locked trying to find some down time.