Change For The Better
There’s a feeling in the air. It’s a mix of cautious optimism and anxious energy. It’s the nagging idea that society might be edging toward something normal, or at least normal enough. And we are ready for it. Compared to last June, where everything felt isolated and lonely, things are now welcoming and warm. I can’t help but get sucked into the intoxicating idea that I can do things again. Here are four things that have already changed for me.
1. Seeing Entire Faces
Everywhere around me, mask restrictions are being lifted. I walk around downtown and see people without masks on. Instead of it making me uncomfortable, I smile with reckless abandon. At my job, we no longer require guests or employees to wear masks inside or outside. I finally get to see the faces of my coworkers for longer than five seconds. While I am still cautious of this new change, I have to admit I love being able to see a full face again. I still wear my mask in the store or at places that ask I wear one. But I think we are all ready to start getting out of the habit. If anything, our skin deserves a break. The only downside is I have to buy more makeup.
2. Going Out Without Guilt
Speaking of people, when I see them, I can see them at restaurants. Yes, there were plenty of places that were open during the height of the pandemic. But it feels like more places are back open and open later. There is no longer a sense that you are doing something wrong by going out. Right after I got my tattoo, I ran into an old friend I haven’t seen in over a year. Her husband was high risk, so she hadn’t been able to make plans. But we were able to meet the next week. It was wonderful to catch up without feeling restricted by Covid Rules. I plan to meet many more friends, both the friends I couldn’t meet because we were playing it safe and the friends I keep missing because it’s hard to schedule things as adults. Either way, I can’t wait to plan my evenings out.
3. Live Music!
Right before everything shut down, my husband had surprised me. I was going to meet him in Alabama at the tail end of his business trip. He bought me a plane ticket, a swanky hotel room, and concert tickets to one of my favorite bands, Nathaniel Rateliff & The Night Sweats. As you can guess, none of that happened. The business trip ended early, and the concert was canceled. I didn’t go on a plane until my father decided to elope—I haven’t flown on an airplane since.
But now, concerts are being announced, including my beloved Nathaniel! This September, I’ll be attending a music festival where he and his band will be playing. I need to have music. CDs and the radio got me through a large portion of quarantine. But nothing replaces a good old-fashioned concert.
Okay, I haven’t had a party yet. But now I can actually plan one. For a while, I’ve been surviving by inviting two people over at a time. It was an intimate way to show off the new kitchen renovation, as well as an excuse to cook. But now, I am ready to start planning something big that celebrates the idea that we can all be together without fear. Party planning is difficult because I work weekends, but I will find a way to make it happen. If that means sacrificing my sleep, so be it. I need to entertain, and people are craving entertainment.
I hope that this upward trend of possibilities keeps rising. Life might not ever be “normal” again, but I’m going to embrace any opportunity where I can feel like it is. After over a year of making it work, it’s time to stop struggling and start living.
Featured Image Courtesy of Pixabay