I’ve spent a year and a half in the pandemic—that’s two birthdays, quite a few holidays, and milestones celebrated at home. Now, I’m fully vaccinated but still not ready to completely leave my pandemic cocoon.
I feel like I have completely lost all of my social skills. I have spent every day with the same few people and spent the first months of quarantine with my family, so there was no new human interaction. Once it felt a little safer, I went to restaurants, saw my friends, and walked around the park (with a mask). But now that the world is slowly reopening, it has been hard for me to imagine what “post-pandemic life” will be like.” Mind you, Arizona was always a little bit more lax, but I was always concerned.
Odd to think that, maybe soon, we will be able to go maskless! We will shake hands and hug strangers; we will be body-to-body at concerts getting beer spilled all over us. That feels crazy! I have barely worn a drop of makeup in a year; I have drawers upon drawers of lounge clothes so I don’t have to wear the same pair of sweats; and to be totally honest, my mental health took some really big hits. I am a completely different person than I was when we entered quarantine in March of 2020. My family and I went through a lot during the pandemic. I am grateful because overall it could have been much worse—but the world suffered a trauma.
I am anxious about being a “real human” again. A study conducted by the American Psychological Association stated, “Americans are hesitant about the future, regardless of vaccination status.” Over 40% of the respondents made clear that they feel uneasy about in-person interaction and events once the pandemic ends. Can you blame them? We’ve been in our homes for a little over a year, speaking to our pets like they understand, and only seeing family (if we were the lucky ones who even got to see our families). The thought of putting on real pants, driving to an office, or physically going to the gym seems daunting for a lot of people, and that’s understandable. How can humans—creatures of habit—be expected to make drastic shifts back to “normal” after having to completely change the way we lived our lives a year ago? Not to mention new variants and outbreaks as the country reopens…it’s hard to feel safe stepping out into the world.
Let’s face it, going out now just seems stressful! You have to pick out an outfit, put on makeup (if that’s your thing), and make your hair look like you didn’t just participate in a seven-day relaxation marathon in bed. Then there’s the matter of crowds. Should we be comfortable walking through a busy space like a movie theater or restaurant? It’s going to take time and patience for homebodies to rework themselves back into society. I am still not completely ready to jump into “post-pandemic life,” since it’s not fully behind us. But maybe I will never be fully comfortable leaving my cocoon…and that’s okay too!