On Day 73

I just asked my Irish-accented Siri how long ago March 13th was. The last day of “normalcy”, though it felt far from normal even though the lock-down wouldn’t go into effect until the next day. 73 days…wow.

Things started reopening for the Memorial Day weekend here. There are still 2 more phases to go, but it’s made me feel very weird. I have my own thoughts on reopening right now as I think a lot of us do, but I’ll leave those in my own head for now. Since the lock-down started, there have always been people ignoring the order. People going out, people seeing family, seeing their friends. But now that stuff is reopening, it’s giving those of us who followed of it a kind of permission to go out and do some things again.

Selfishly, one of the biggest positives for me about the lock-down was being able to put on pause that feeling that I was never doing enough. That I wasn’t going out enough. That I wasn’t traveling enough. That I was supposed to feel bad about myself when I didn’t have anything to do on the weekends. On Mondays, I didn’t have to worry about answering the inevitable, “what did you do this weekend?” question from my coworkers because it was the same for all of us. Now that we can all start doing some things again, my Instagram feed is starting to look like it used to before all this. I’m reminded of all the things I’m not doing. Some of the things I struggled with before are creeping up again.

These waves come over me where I think, “wait, is it normal again?” because things are reopening. Then I see myself in the mirror with a mask on or see others around me wearing them and I’m reminded that we are far from normal still, and will be for quite a while. This is the “new normal”.

With this new stage, I’m trying to find my own personal balance of being safe, but also allowing myself to do some things to maintain my sanity. I’ve given myself a once a week Starbucks drive thru allowance. I’m hoping for a summer backyard party with a couple of friends where we’re all 6 feet apart (an easy feat to accomplish in the giant backyard at my house). I think I’m going to attempt going into a Target store for the first time since the first weekend in March. I may try Trader Joe’s out here too now that I know the county is requiring masks.

I still wake up and hope it was all a bad dream. This weekend would have been graduation for the university by my house. I always complained about having to hear Pomp and Circumstance about 12 times during the weekend. I always complained about losing my parking spot because the street would get parked up so I never went anywhere. Now I can’t really go anywhere for an entirely different reason, and I would give anything to have that normalcy back; to allow those students to have the ceremony they deserved to have. I would have been seeing my best friend this weekend too. She was supposed to come for the month of May.

I still can’t really look at any old photos. I backed up and deleted anything that was pre-pandemic from my phone. It was only a little over 2 months ago, but that life feels worlds away now, and I don’t like the reminder. No one really knows what the next chapter is going to look like. Maybe once there’s a treatment or a vaccine, things will all go back to the way they were. We’ll all remember this insane time and that we got through. But maybe some things will change permanently. I can almost guarantee flying is going to suck even worse than it already did. I know not every business is going to survive which makes me really sad. What’s the job market going to look like? Am I still going to have my job?

I’m sure as this reopening progresses, more questions and more feelings are going to come up. As everyone keeps saying, this is an unprecedented time. There’s no manual on how to feel or how to process all of this; something with no end date in sight.

I hope everyone is safe and well.

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