Like most people, I’ve been looking forward to restrictions lifting and life getting back to normal. Don’t say it… the “new normal”, does that make anyone else cringe? I couldn’t wait to eat out again and to go places and see people and just start to feel human again. I think we have all felt the fatigue of lockdowns and restrictions. Video calls and even phone calls got old real quick. We needed human interaction and changes of scenery with the same desperation as Hancock grasping on Gina’s backside.
However, as things are opening up and we are presented with more and more opportunities to engage with things again, I’m left with a hesitance, perhaps more a lethargy. I feel surrounded by people with full diaries, several holidays planned, social media feeds awash with activity. Meanwhile, I sometimes feel a pang of relief when the few plans that I have get cancelled. I feel a bit guilty about that, like there is an expectation now that I should feel grateful for the opportunities that we have and I must pack my diary to the brim with events and occasions. As an extroverted introvert, I’ve often battled with wanting plans and wanting to cancel plans. I think lockdowns and restrictions took the pressure off this for those like me!
Society glorifies being busy, however, I do think we have seen a shift in this. Many people speak of how they have enjoyed being forced into a slower pace of life and employers have recognised the importance of work/life balance more than they ever have. We have expanded our definition of achievement beyond being busy and our values have had a much needed overhaul.
When isolating for 10 days after my daughter got Covid, although it was very stressful, I enjoyed being hunkered down in the bubble of my family. Not the illness and the work bits. On my first day of freedom I went for a walk round the block to remember what it was like to leave the home, I remember thinking that I must never take for granted all the things I lost in those 10 days. I told myself that I will get some dates in the diary with everyone I want to see and get things moving. It’s truly not that I don’t want to see people, I really do. I’m a people person and felt overwhelming loneliness in the lockdowns. It’s more that I can’t be bothered doing it, I don’t have the brain capacity to make the decisions or the energy to be sociable. That said, when I have dragged myself out I have been so happy that I did and so incredibly grateful to those special friends that don’t let me disappear of the face of the earth.
It seems that I’m not alone, I read today that nearly half of us are feeling nervous about socialising again. Even those that are excited to be back out and about might also be feeling anxious to some degree. There’s a lot of change which has affected all of us, therefore, it’s normal to have some questions and concerns. When do we hug? Who do we hug? What if someone tries to do that weird elbow bump thing at me?
Perhaps it’s a process and I will slowly come back out of my shell and in to the real world, but at the moment that hesitance is still there and I’m still waiting. I’m not sure what I’m waiting for, but I’m waiting!