My state is lifting all pandemic restrictions and fully opening. A new day is dawning.
And I’m not ready.
Since the countdown began to things returning to normal, I’ve struggled on and off with waves of anxiety at the thought. Although today is the “big day” I’ve already seen the shift . A larger percentage of people have ditched their masks. On social media, I see ‘friends’ celebrating with large gatherings, trips, and no safety measures.
And it’s freaking me out.
I am fully vaccinated. People are being asked to use the honor system. If a person is not vaccinated, he is being asked to do the right thing and wear a mask. Unless the person has a medical reason for not being vaccinated (and would still be wearing a mask if that was the case), I am trying to understand why someone would not get the vaccine – not only for their own safety but the safety of others. Then again, I cannot help jumping to conclusions and assuming that a person who would not wear a mask unvaccinated is probably in that same group of people who did not take the pandemic seriously. I know that I should give people the benefit of the doubt and I’m trying sooooooo hard!
Then there’s the matter of my grandsons, who are too young to be vaccinated. They are still at risk. They have to wear masks. In our family, even if we were so inclined to not wear a mask, if the boys are with us masks are required. Especially with six year old Beej, who will not hesitate to point out that it’s not safe to go without a mask. He has been a rock star throughout the pandemic- spending a good part of the year in the company of adults only and remaining safe in all areas- mask, social distancing and hand-washing- with no complaints. And I will continue to keep him safe until he is no longer at risk.
Things aren’t going to be normal. Each state has different guidelines. Businesses have the right to require masks and exercise safety measures. Although it feels like the world is opening up and everything will be ‘normal’ again, the truth is that even normal will be a new normal and it will take time to adjust to it. The reality is other parts of the world are experiencing surges and lockdowns. New variants of the virus seems to be popping up daily.
It’s too soon to toss the masks and pretend that the last 14 or 15 months never happened. It’s still here. It’s just different.
I won’t be ditching my mask. I will be cautiously dipping my toe into the new normal to test the waters. And as we move forward, regardless of where you might fall on the pandemic spectrum in terms of belief or opinion, I hope you will continue to practice patience and kindness.
Peace and love,