“CDC eases masking guidance for 70% of the country…” And so begins a notification from my local news source that appeared on my phone last Friday.
Yippeee……. okay, no, not really. I know I’m in the minority here or wherever but I’m not jumping for joy at the guidance that lets us ditch our masks. I’ve spent nearly two years in an area of the US that has had the tightest safety restrictions and I’ve been okay with it. Until omicron came to town, those restrictions had kept me and my loved ones safe from Covid.
That pesky omicron did not care that we had spent nearly two years practicing the recommended and/or mandated measures and it quickly swept through our family. All except seven-year-old Beej were fully vaccinated. We were fortunate and no one was seriously ill. Everyone has fully recovered except for me. I cannot seem to shake this draining exhaustion. It seemed to come out of nowhere. I was symptom-free and moving on and then one day I woke up exhausted. Occasionally I will have a day where I’m not dragging myself around or falling asleep before 8pm only to wake the following morning feeling as if I just pulled an all-nighter. After five weeks of this on and off, I’m tired of everything.
I don’t want to go without a mask. I don’t want to do anything. I’m tired.
On Friday when I went into a school for a meeting, I was told that masks were optional by a person who was not wearing a mask. Instead of feeling appreciative of her kindly letting me know that I didn’t need a mask, I swallowed down a feeling of complete panic. Ugh. Now I had anxiety to deal with in addition to feeling so tired.
I understand that many people are excited to hear about the CDC’s launch of new recommendations. I’m just not one of them. Not yet.
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.
Lately I’ve been feeling a little ragged around the edges and in need of something. It would be easy to blame it on the pandemic. No one would blame me, right? But as we have all found out in the last eleven months or so, life doesn’t stop just because people are dying.
With my anxiety running rampant, my sleep disturbed, and my thoughts wandering all over, I decided that I needed to mellow out and engage in some nourishing of my body and soul.
Here’s what I’ve been doing-
Enjoying the peacefulness of watching it snow from the warmth and coziness of my house
Keeping warm with a nice cup of tea
Taking the advice written on my mug and remembering to breathe
Perfecting my granny squares
Working on my ideas for blog posts
Choosing the perfect book to read next
Re-binge watching my all time comfort show- Grey’s Anatomy
Having a good cry or two or three or with every episode involving my favorite interns at Seattle Grace Hospital- I forgot how cathartic crying can be!
Listening to my Beatles playlist
Sitting in complete silence and letting my thoughts go where they need to go and do what they need to do
“Don’t forget to pause and nourish yourself a bit along the way. When you’re born to help others sometimes you forget to help yourself.” ― Paula Heller Garland