It’s official – COVID lockdown has ended. I know this because I’m pretty sure we were the last holdouts and we have finally loosened up our protocols.
We are no longer sheltering in place, just the two of us and the cats. We’ve slowly peeked our heads out of our collective shells and gradually started to return to a semblance of our previous lives.
My non-husband XFE has gone into his re-opened office over the summer with increasing frequency and also attended some work events. I attended my first work-related conference in person in DC last week. We’ve gone on a couple of small trips, including our first international trip (a week in Mexico in July). We’re even going to a wedding this weekend.
Our assimilation has been at a slower pace than a lot of people we know but it all still feels super weird and risky to us. As far as I can tell, most folks have already had COVID at least once so they feel slightly safer than those of us who never caught it. And, with vaccines and boosters, it seems like we all feel comfortable that even if we do get COVID at this point, we won’t likely die from it (This is the group we’re tentatively in. However, we are still very afraid of the unknowns around long COVID).
In many ways, we had to loosen up. We didn’t really have a choice. The world was starting to move on without us. XFE got promoted this summer, which continues to produce many celebratory get-togethers. Conferences went back to being in-person and no longer offered a virtual option. Offices have gradually opened and companies are encouraging/pressuring people to come back in the name of “culture.” Family health issues came up that needed to be addressed immediately and in person. Despite XFE’s best hair-cutting efforts of the past two-and-a-half years, I could no longer ignore the state of my hair. And we keep getting invited to things we really didn’t want to miss.
So that’s where we are — nervously tiptoeing our way back into society.
But I have to say: I kinda miss our pandemic lockdown bubble.
I actually liked not feeling pressured to socialize. Right before the lockdowns, I had a ton of work and personal travel planned, and to be honest, I did not want to attend all of it. I liked having that built-in excuse for bowing out – “No, sorry, we can’t go. We’re still being very COVID cautious.”
I liked how we all slowed down, reprioritized what was important, and focused on self-care. Of course, I didn’t like being scared—even downright paranoid—about catching COVID. But I did like feeling like the safest thing we could do for everyone was to just stay home.
Plus, I learned a lot about XFE and his job while we were both working from home. While we worried about ourselves, our loved ones, and the country (A LOT) over those two-and-a-half years, we also had fun and laughed and ate awesome homecooked meals three times a day and watched a lot of really bad TV.
We bought a cabin and hunkered down in a place that felt spacious and safe. We got to enjoy a slower pace of life in a place that still stuns us with its’ beauty. We quickly established a routine and fell into a nice rhythm. Right now, things feel very much up in the air as we try to figure out where we need to be and when.
So after an already busy September and a hectic-looking October, I’m ready for another lockdown bubble. I don’t want another pandemic (obviously), but I’m not ready for the world to go back so quickly to the way it was before.