I Have Re-Entry Anxiety
If my new freedom from fear of the Coronavirus (via my Moderna vaccine) is what I’ve been looking forward to for the last year, then why it it so hard to use this new freedom?
During the Coronavirus I’ve been fairly strict with social distancing, because I’m the primary caregiver for my 83 year old momma.Now that my momma and I are both vaccinated, I’m starting the process of reentering society, according to the CDC guidelines. Socializing now feels very strange. It’s like I’ve got a Coronavirus -era socialization hangover.
In the before times I was I an extravert who was compelled to travel. In contrast, this past year has been very difficult because of my being at home and being mostly alone. Luckily I have an emotional support Great Pyrenees, a dog who is nearly the size of another human, a creature who happily takes up more than her half of the couch. (That’s good, because over the last year we’ve watched a lot of television together!)
Now that people in my social sphere are starting to be fully vaccinated, it seems that reentering society is also difficult. Maybe I’m not an extravert after all? Maybe I’m really just an introvert with severe fear of missing out?
Even during the Coronavirus lockdown not everyone stopped going to bars and having big weddings. It makes me feel like Rip Van Winkle, reentering a world that went on without me. Or maybe I’m more like the dude in the short story/ schlock movie “An American Pickle” who fell into the brine at a pickle company and woke up 100 years later in a very different version of Brooklyn.
These days even a weeknight dinner with friends who I’ve known for 20+ years, is totally exhausting, when before it was just a fun blip in life.
Having a coffee while walking with a childhood friend is enough to fill my newly shrunken social interaction bucket for an entire weekend, when, in the before times, that amount of human contact would have been nothing compared to all the other things I was doing.
Post-pandemic, the idea of having a patio brunch with a vaccinated friend I haven’t seen in a year is something I’m looking forward to, but I know it’s going to be a big thing that is going to take a lot of my social energy for the weekend.
I suspect I’m dealing with re-entry anxiety, which is apparently pretty common. If I am, other people must be as well.
We’ve all been through a collective trauma, and coming out of this time is going to be harder for many of us than just throwing open the front door and boldly making dinner reservations. We need to be honest with ourselves that it’s going to be hard.