On Life After the Vaccine, Vol. 3

Sunset Stock photos by Vecteezy

There have been a lot of changes in my life this past year, especially considering I spent so much of it indoors. I moved out of the place I lived for 12 years and back in with my parents. COVID sucked but being able to live with them and spend that much time with them was really a blessing I never would have had had COVID not happened.

That situation has changed now too and I’m finding myself trying to reconcile this new life in my mind. I’m beyond thrilled to be vaccinated, and I jumped into life again a lot more than I thought I would after. I’ve seen and will be seeing a lot of friends. I’ve dined outdoors without a mask on. I’ve been to my office a handful of times. I’ve been at stores around people not wearing masks and I didn’t want to yell my head off at them. I actually didn’t expect myself to transition as quickly as I did. I thought I would still be really scared all the time but I’m thankful that I’m not. I’m not at the point where I want to be indoors with people who aren’t vaccinated and not wearing masks…that’s going to take a while (no matter what the CDC says), but I’m proud of the progress I’ve made.

That being said, I still find myself wishing for my “old life”. I thought post-vaccine, I would fling the doors open and be so thankful for my new lease on life. I definitely feel that too but the transition has also been incredibly hard. Even if we take the masks off, this world is not the same as it was before COVID happened. Much of the world is still suffering greatly from this virus. And even though here it seems like we’ve turned a corner, that doesn’t change what happened. That doesn’t change that everything has been immensely affected by this virus. The cost of things has skyrocketed, places are having trouble fulfilling inventory (not for toilet paper thankfully), everything you order is delayed, gas prices are super high again, plenty of people are still out of work, relationships have been fractured. A lot of us may be vaccinated and the masks may be coming off soon, but this is not the pre-COVID world by any means.

I don’t think that we should try to pretend like we’re in a pre-COVID world. This was supposed to be a massive learning opportunity for everyone, even though it ended up being a lesson that only a few wanted to learn. In reality, I don’t think I actually want to go back to pre-COVID world anyway. I didn’t appreciate my life enough before all this happened. But I still find myself yearning for that old life a lot. I think some of it is the familiarity. This last year has been filled with so much change, it’s hard to wrap my head around. And COVID or not, I’ve always had trouble with change so I think I just want to have what I know back. That life I lived for such a long time and the comfort that came with that.

I’m doing my best to appreciate every moment. To really take in the moments when I’m doing something that I couldn’t for such a long time. I’m hugging harder than I ever did. I’m trying to put myself out there. I’m trying not to say “oh I have plenty of time to do that” and just do it instead.

I’m also trying to stand up for myself more. There were several things that came up this last year where I actually did a pretty damn good job at that. I’m also trying to shed this desire to make everyone else happy and have everyone else like me. COVID taught me that life is short and so many things (and people) just aren’t worth the effort. I’ve literally drained myself my entire life trying to get everyone’s approval and acceptance. Even with friends, I’m always trying to say and do the right thing because I don’t want to upset anyone or for anyone to not like me. I feel like I have to put on a positive front a lot of times because people think I’m too negative or don’t understand my anxiety and depression. My default setting has always been to believe that everyone else is right and I’m wrong because I’ve never believed in myself enough. I’m not like “hey, I love myself!” yet but I do know that I’m doing my absolute best. I’m trying to be the best person I can, the best friend, the best daughter, the best employee. At the end of the day, I’m happy with the effort I put out into the world, and if anyone else has a problem with it, that’s on them. I’m too tired to keep putting so much of myself into people who don’t care or matter anymore.

I’m looking forward to what else this year is going to hold. It’s a little rough right now but I know that’s a normal part of any kind of change or transition. There’s certainly no manual on how to deal with a pandemic and then deal with it when things start reopening again and you get vaccinated. This is all uncharted territory for everyone so I’ll just have to start writing my own manual.

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