DISPATCHES FROM MY DINING ROOM (NO 7): Re-Entering the World – Maybe? (Day 743)

I didn’t think, when we started staying home to try to keep ourselves from getting COVID-19, that we would be just now, over 2 years later, beginning to contemplate a re-entry into society. Of course, for many others, the timing and the choices have been different. We have made the best decisions we could for our family, given our unique medical risks. On our doctors’ advice, we are just now starting to figure out what it looks like for us to interact with more people socially and consider having our kids participate in various activities. It has been two years since my kids have interacted with other kids in person. They were 9, 9, 6, and 5 years old when we started staying home. I expect that their re-entry into society is going to include a significant learning curve.

Of course, the same is true for me. This week, I took FangFang to physical therapy for the first time in over 2 years. I realized that morning that I would have to leave my house two times that day. I don’t remember the last time I did that.

To be honest, I’m not sure how I feel about it. I like staying home. Between homeschooling, parenting, grad school, work, and household management, I already feel like my life is pretty full – all from my house! I am an introvert. I love curling up with my heated blanket and a cup of tea and a good book. I’m not sure what my vision for our post-isolation life looks like.

Add to that the reality that my world has shifted significantly in the past few years. I am still me, the same person as always. But I have come out publicly – which has had a significant effect on how I am viewed by many people who were once in my closest social circles. I am over halfway through a graduate career that I had not started before the pandemic began, and I am beginning to investigate what it could look like for me to work in that field. My kids are older, and I am loving the people they are at these ages, but I feel the pressure of continuing to guide them and offer them opportunities to enrich their lives as they grow and the uncertainty of not knowing exactly how to do that.

It’s funny – I am comfortable in the blacks and whites, the definitive answers. So much of my growth as an adult has been learning to negotiate the grays, the ambiguities of which life actually consists. Pandemic life is often very black and white. Stay home. Get vaccinated. Wear masks. Now we’re stepping into another gray area – figuring out how to go back to living a more complex, more full but also more complicated, life. I’m not sure what that looks like or how to do it, but I hope to move forward into it well.

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