Peace, Anticipation, and Anxiety

I’m in a bit of a quandary… I know so many people who are just, well, eager for things to open back up, to be able to see those they love and haven’t seen in so long.

Yet I find myself in the small-but-larger-than-I-realized group of people who are highly anxious about reopening and don’t necessarily want things to change. At least not right now, and not abruptly.

Even when I do get the vaccine I don’t think that I’m going to want to suddenly be out and about. I find that I rather like the peaceful and solitary life that I have had the last year. I’ve been very cautious and haven’t seen other people much all year. There have been occasional (distanced) meet ups but nothing like what other people (who clearly are craving more in-person interaction) have been having. I’m even more cautious than my parents were (before they got vaccinated, yay).

I am so happy that those I love are getting the vaccine. I’m also happy to just wait my turn. It gives me, well, a bit of an excuse for continuing my peaceful, solitary existence. Others really can’t understand this – even those who know me best and love me. They think that I should be eager to get back to “normal”, too.

While I’ve been fine with being alone this past year, and have liked it more than I thought possible, I also worry that it has made it easier for me to withdraw (which is my natural inclination in relationships) and become more of a loner than I was before. I worry that it may have hastened the end of my relationship… since we definitely have different opinions on what is safe and how much we should be interacting with others.

Which means I find myself treasuring my peaceful existence, anticipating getting my vaccine (eventually, when it’s my turn) and highly anxious about any return to anything resembling “normal”, as well as what that means for my relationships. I don’t want “normal”, but I also don’t know how to balance a version of “normal” with what I have now. I know I won’t have all the answers immediately, but in the meantime, it’s reassuring to know that others are feeling the same way.

In the meantime, this quote is giving me a bit of peace…

“There may be many uncertainties in life but there are also infinite possibilities. It is impossible for us to know how our days will come and go, and I think it’s better this way. The truth is, if we “knew it all” life would be so much less interesting. When we have a tight grip on how we think our lives should look, we block out the guidance of the really magical lives that are waiting for us.”

I don’t know who said that, but I have it clipped and saved and it does speak to where I am right now – not knowing where the road post-isolation will go, and trying to remember that, well, that’s life. Time to see how it unfolds.

8 thoughts on “Peace, Anticipation, and Anxiety

  1. That is a thought provoking quote, Anne. It will take a long time until ordinary not so old people are offered the vaccine here but whenever it happens, I know I’ll feel uneasy in the beginning about going out and meet people. I’ll be very careful and uncertain about whether it’s safe. I hope we’ll get back to something like what we had though..but maybe a modified version of it. Not taking life and health for granted.. being more thankful for what we have, and for our social interactions. I will never again take for granted the moments we enjoy with friends, I’ll be thankful over every second of it. I guess I’m less of a loner than you are.

    1. Thanks for your thoughts, Suzanne. I definitely know that I’ll be uneasy, and while I may treasure my solitude a bit more than you, I also know that I need to get out into the world again! It will just be a very gradual process. Definitely being more thankful for what we have, and for the small moments of connection that have always made up our days, but that have been lost in the isolation and the fear. I hope that you can get the vaccine sooner rather than later.

  2. I can relate to some of what you said! We have been “out and about” quite a lot already (stores/ restaurants some mostly) in as safe a manner as possible, but until very recently it has been limited to just my immediate family and me. The boys are just starting to get together with friends again, though still mostly outside. Their activities have picked back up, etc. so things are really starting to feel “almost” normal to us in that regard. But, I haven’t had any gatherings with personal friends yet (not counting my parents and very recently, my husband’s mom and sister) and like you, I don’t feel a major need to! I also have found myself dreading or feeling overwhelmed sometimes when I actually need to go somewhere (i.e. drive to son’s swim practice). It’s almost like, ohhhh, I have to go somewhere? UGH. Haha! But then it does strike me as odd…is something wrong with me? Why do I feel that way? Shouldn’t I be excited to be out around people? I also don’t feel any burning desire to get together with friends (I’m not super social in the best of times, though- lol!). I think sometimes we just get used to whatever our current situation is. Maybe it’s why people don’t leave bad marriages or stay in crappy jobs! ha. A sense of complacency, maybe? Comfort with the “known”? Laziness? LOL! I don’t know. 🙂 Maybe you’ll have to push yourself for a while to get back out there a little bit. Once the weather warms, you may find it easier than you anticipate, too. Be patient with yourself and remember that it took time to get used to the pandemic, and will take time to get used to coming out of it!

    1. I think you hit the nail on the head, Kae. It’s a matter of easing back into it and getting comfortable with something approximating “before”, but with modifications, of course. In a way, I envy you having the boys, as that seems like it might help you get back into interacting with others a bit more smoothly. Kind of like exposure therapy? 🙂 I do have friends offering to come by for walks when the weather gets nicer, so I may take them up on that. I’m like you, though – never that social in the best of times! But I do think that when I start seeing and interacting with them in person again that it will start to feel more comfortable, like you said. Baby steps, right?

  3. I relate to this so much, Anne. Of course, I want things to get better, back to normal, not be afraid of going out (when I want to go out ;)) but I also kinda dread the time when everything is open again and it isn’t so easy to just use Covid as an excuse to hide away at home. Part of me has really enjoyed the peacefulness. Jon and I definitely have been much more careful than other people and haven’t seen anybody in a year…. it’s been challenging and freeing at the same time (if that makes sense). We are not super-social people to begin with (just social with each other), but we’re definitely looking forward to making that decision – if we want to go out or not – again sometime in the near future.

    It will take some adjusting and I definitely won’t be changing my now treasured habits in a rapid way anytime soon. I do hope I can continue to work from home at least part time when things open back u. That’s been such a game changer for my everyday routine!

    1. I think we are on exactly the same page, San. I definitely want things to get better, for the pervasive fear to diminish… but I also dread getting out there. I think I am currently using my unvaccinated state as a kind of safety shield – so it will be interesting to see how that changes when I am vaccinated and can see people again. It will definitely take some adjusting – perhaps starting with lower-risk activities and small get togethers, then seeing how things go from there? Right now I’m not even comfortable in a shop, other than my (well-run) grocery store! So I definitely have some work to do.

  4. I can really relate to this. I was one of those people who thought that I would really struggle with this past year- I’m a very social person and an extrovert..but something about slowing down and being able to put my energy into house projects and bettering myself has been (honestly) life changing. I’ve also been really hurt by some people that were close friends before and their attitudes about the pandemic, so honestly there aren’t too many people that I even WANT to see when things open up again! It’s hurt my heart a lot to let people go but sometimes it’s just something that has to happen. So, I’m in the same boat of feeling anxious and not ready to return to anything “normal”

    1. I’m so sorry to hear that you’ve been hurt by how some people have responded to the pandemic. I had some challenges with family members who were, shall we say, relying on less than scientific sources for their information early in the pandemic, but they were at least taking it seriously. I’ve been surprised by how much of an introvert I am – I knew I was NOT social (in contrast to you!) but I’ve been more okay with the isolation than even I anticipated! I think we’ve all been irrevocably changed by the last year+, in so many different ways. It’s almost like we’ll have to get to know each other, and figure out how to live our lives, all over again.

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