Author: Sheri Denkensohn-Trott
As pandemic restrictions begin to lighten, our daily lives are now impacted. Masking differs from place to place, but in general, masking outside is no longer required. Limits on the number of people allowed inside and outside and numerical restrictions at different venues are changing. Some say we are entering the “new normal.” For me, I’m not sure if there ever was a normal and while the environment is new, for many individuals similar to me it is the same. My life is more aptly described as a daily seesaw than it is as normal.
What does that mean? I find that each day I am going through the calculus of my comfort level. I am comfortable leaving my building and going outside without a mask. I don’t go to CVS or any other stores without a mask so if I’m leaving my condo, I put on a mask and go to my destination inside, and then take it off once I’m outside so I can have a drink. Recently we dined outside for the first time since lockdown. It didn’t feel strange, although it may have looked a little different as all the waiters wore masks.
But other activities feel unbalanced. Like the seesaw going from up to down. My first hug to a friend was uncomfortable. Not because I didn’t want to hug my friend, but the sheer act of doing so seemed foreign. And it was clear that my friend didn’t mind, but we were both a little tentative. We have had vaccinated friends over at our house both inside and outside. No discomfort, but during the visit there have been times of feeling like the seesaw is feverishly going up and down as I tire quickly due to the lack entertaining for over a year. It has only been me and Tony and my caregiver for so long. I’m out of practice!
There are also instances where I’m on the seesaw and I feel balance and out of nowhere something happens that makes the seesaw start to move up and down. An example is going to my local coffee shop. I feel comfortable because the doors are open and there are garage door type windows that are also open. Is it safe to sit there and write? I’ve been yearning to do so. Or should I continue with my usual practice of writing on my home computer? I’ve been comfortable doing my monthly breast cancer meetings on Zoom. The thought of going downtown in the evening and making the trip back and forth is the seesaw in my mind. What a hassle. On the other hand, it would be nice to see many of the women in person. It has been a long time.
For me, and maybe for you, think of the seesaw as a metaphor. This is a transition. At times it might feel smooth like going back and forth from one way of operating to another. At times it is in balance. At other points it may seem like a delicate transition from one side to the other. It is up to you how fast you want to go, but, please, realize that your chosen speed may be different than that of the other person.