After so many months of anxiety, stress, and even grief, we can finally get vaccinated and feel a little safer as we go about our daily lives. It’s been a long 14+ months, during which we had to forego many of our familiar comforts. We realized how much we valued physical contact, learned to appreciate the time we spent with family more, and figured out how to live without unnecessary frivolity.
We will probably never get back to what was once considered normal, and whatever degree of normalcy we do achieve will take a little more time. In the meantime, we can appreciate the small freedoms we’ve been granted after months of shutdowns and start to look forward to reentering society. I’ve been thinking about what activities I’d like to engage in now that I’m fully vaccinated, and these are the things at the top of my list.
I’ve never really considered physical touch to be one of my love languages, but I do come from a family of huggers, so I appreciate a good embrace. Having to see family and friends from a distance has been difficult, especially for such an extended period. I can’t wait to give warm hugs to all the people I haven’t been able to draw close to since early last year.
Seeing Friends in Person
As I type this, I still haven’t seen my friends outside of our video chats, texts, and phone calls. Perhaps what makes it so frustrating is knowing that a fun sleepover weekend with them is only a car ride away. We’ve missed celebrating birthdays, attending seasonal events, and the odd brunch and happy hour in the past year, but at least we’ve been able to keep in touch and can start to make plans to see each other again.
Feeling Less Anxious in Public
A significant percentage of the population is still pretty anxious about becoming ill, vaccine or no. If we were only dealing with one strain of the virus, getting inoculated would provide a lot more peace of mind. But the existence of variants makes it impossible to truly relax when we are around strangers in public. I’m a lot more open to the idea of shopping in-store with a mask on than I was last year or earlier this year, and I don’t jump out of my skin every time people come within six feet of me.
Enjoying Dining Out Safely
No matter how delicious a restaurant’s signature dish is, the gamble involved in dining out during the pandemic has never been worth the risk of becoming infected, and so I never ventured out, even during the first wave of restaurant openings. I felt the same way about outdoor seating because of all the foot traffic. I’m not quite ready to dine indoors yet, but I can now enjoy a socially distanced al fresco drink with friends outside a local tavern without my blood pressure going up. There is so much to experience this summer, and I can’t wait to take in all of it.
I have quite a few Pinterest boards dedicated to keeping track of all the places I want to go, activities I want to try, and delicious-looking food that I want to eat, but haven’t actually checked any of those things off the to-do list. I always thought I’d have time in the future, but this pandemic has really driven home the fact that time flies and good moments can be fleeting, and so it’s best to enjoy new experiences while we can. So plan that beach vacation and try that interesting-looking sandwich from a local business. Make the most out of the warmer weather that’s headed our way.
One Large Popcorn, Please
Movie-going used to be a big hobby of mine pre-pandemic, and I’ve missed plunking down into a recliner with an assortment of snacks. Quite a few highly-anticipated movies of 2020 had to be postponed indefinitely or switched to at-home streaming, but movie theaters are starting to open again now that a good percentage of the population has been vaccinated. Films like The Quiet Place II and Black Widow will be some of the first ones to be shown in cinemas after this last round of lockdowns, and I’m looking forward to being able to enjoy the surround sound and pitch-dark coolness of a theater.
What are some of the activities you missed engaging in? And what are the first few things you plan to do as soon as you’re vaccinated?