Little by little, I am escaping the confines of my four walls. I am doing more and more “normal” things. We go to restaurants once a week. We have gone to outdoor and indoor malls. I have attended some real-life meetings for church committees. We have been to Disney Springs and even to the Magic Kingdom. I rode in the same car with two friends and stayed with them in the same hotel suite on our overnight trip to Amelia Island. It was a big day when Max and first sat inside a Starbuck’s with our beverages and pumpkin bread.
It is tempting to believe things are “getting back to normal.” That is not the case, though. Doing isn’t feeling.
A weird sinister vibe accompanies our furtive ventures out of the house. We do not do anything without analyzing the risk/benefit factors. No matter how you look at it, life is certainly painted in a vibrant shade of “weird” when the notion of going to Starbuck’s is a potentially dangerous activity. Everywhere we do go, there are reminders that the world is still considerably off-kilter. While we are trying to right ourselves, our entire culture is working up quite a sweat from the effort of playing “let’s pretend.” No hugs or handshakes. Masks covering smiles. Following one-way directional arrows in the supermarket. Learning to speak up because no one can hear me from an appropriate social distance. Fitting rooms closed at department stores. Strangely quiet and empty streets, stores, and other venues.
There is also the “social acceptability” factor of returning to previously normal activities. Watching the news and social media, reactions to real life are mixed. There seems to be one camp of people insisting that the virus is taking over the world and we are all going to die. There is another camp that is insisting that there is no danger and taking any kind of reasonable precautions is unnecessary. I know I should not care, but I do tend to worry about what people will think if I post pictures of us at Disney World or suggest an in-person meeting for a church group. I want to be respectful and comforting. I also want to not be judged.
All in all, things in the area where I live and are doing fairly well. News media and prayers for full annihilation of the virus aside, causes for concern seem to be receding. People are aware that the world is not normal, but they also are beginning to feel the need to live outside the box… literally. People are beginning to stop waiting for things to return to normal to continue with their regularly scheduled lives. There are adaptations and adjustments we need to make, but society is restarting some form of regular life. That is a hopeful sign. The more we can do that, the more doing will be feeling.
It is another weird transition time that we are experiencing now. When the world first went on lockdown, the changes we had to make to our normal lives were so massive and intrusive, many of us felt our sanity sensors wobbling. I know I felt like I was kicked in the gut back to the last twelfth of Never. Now, we have adapted very effectively to zoom meetings, social distancing, and avoiding non-essential human contact. We might be having a hard time starting to climb back from Never. We may have become a little lethargic and rut-bound. In some ways, it is easier to remain securely in hunker down mode. It is a bit like COVID-19 spooked the horse of our lives and we got thrown out of the saddle. We toppled to the ground and hurt ourselves. For a time, it made sense to stay off the horse and heal. We could even decide to stay off the horse permanently if we did not enjoy riding. On the other hand, unless we want to give up riding forever, we must get back on the horse at some point.
I know that point will be different for everyone. I know that everyone heals differently. I know some horses are gentler than others. I know some people are better riders than others. I am not here to advise or judge, just to hope and pray that, someday, I can hug people again. And that I will feel “normal” doing it!
What activity or condition would help you to feel “normal” again? Please share your perspective by leaving a comment. Alternatively, you can email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Have a normal day!