Opening back up

Inching closer every day…it feels like we’re almost out of this awful pandemic.

Vaccinations are increasing, masks are being left behind and it’s time to open back up.

Let’s be honest, this pandemic WAS. THE. WORST. Definitely on my list of top 5 worst pandemics.

I still can’t believe over a year ago I graduated from my off-campus house, watching my name scroll by like the weirdest credits sequence you’ve ever seen.

Then there was moving to a new city in the middle of it. Imagine never knowing what your coworkers looked like because you’ve only seen them with a mask on. Then throw in trying to learn more about producing while social distancing. Yeesh.

Then, the summer was better. Cases went down, people went out again.

But then, cases started to creep up again in the fall. Winter came. It felt like torture only going from home to work to home again. Making the occasional visit to the grocery store, only to get in and out as soon as possible.

Then, we got a vaccine! We had hope once again! I proudly got my shot. I checked in with friends and family to see when they would be fully vaccinated. I was excited to once again socialize with the world.

Fully vaxxed

Now, summer is around the corner. Covid restrictions are being dropped, and honestly, it makes me nervous.

The world isn’t the only thing being forced to open back up. So am I.

This pandemic killed any progress I made with my socializing skills. I could feel my anxiety growing around people without masks on. I didn’t want to ask people to meet up outside of work because I didn’t know how comfortable they were leaving their bubbles. I didn’t know how comfortable I was leaving my bubble.

I tell myself I was lucky to continue working in person throughout the pandemic. I was able to chat with my coworkers throughout the day, getting some human interaction in a few hours a week.

I could feel myself pulling away from friends. Splitting up after graduation, it’s hard to keep in touch when everyone has different schedules in different places. It stings scrolling through social media, seeing some people meeting up, and trying to figure out if your invite got lost in the mail.

I know I can’t be the only one nervous about socializing again. Here I am, planning how I should order my drink from the bartender before I arrive at the bar, if I’m going to wear a mask to the restaurant or bracing myself for whatever small talk the cashier might throw at me.

It’s exciting, too. I want to be able to see my friends again. Not worry about how many people could be at the family party. Not hold my breath when a stranger passes me by.

So, I’m forcing myself to open up. To text my friends first and make plans, instead of hoping I get the invite before I see any posts online. To call my family first, not wait by the phone and see if they call. To reach out more, stay honest, tell people I’m doing great, I’m just fine, I’m busy or I’m just not having a great time.

No one told me post-grad life was easy. I braced for it.

What remains uncertain; post-pandemic life. I don’t know exactly what it looks like, but I hope it looks feels more normal. I’m going to continue to remain optimistic. What else can you do?

Now that I’m fully vaccinated, I’m ready to get back out and see the world! Stay tuned for my next travels, coming this summer.

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