Last Updated on June 7, 2021 by ThoughtsStained
I can’t decide which is stranger: that a global pandemic happened (and continues on, despite how so many act and think). Or, that we here in America are pretending that it’s over and we can move on as if nothing happened; as if we learned nothing from such a devastating pandemic. Like many personal posts on this blog, I just need a space to…process all of this. I am feeling a lot of “post” pandemic pressures and anxiety surrounding them–and a lot of that anxiety doesn’t make a lot of sense.
I’m very lucky. My pandemic experience wasn’t nearly as hard as so many. I was able to work remotely for the past year and some change. I’m employed, never got sick and am fully vaccinated. My student loans are still on hold, so I’ve been paying off other debt.
Sure, my partner was unemployed for most of the pandemic. That was hard. My family got COVID and that was terrifying. My mental health? Plummeted. My faith in humanity is practically non-existent at this point. For how can I faith in anything when all I’ve seen in the past year has been nothing but selfishness, greed and a truly shocking lack of empathy? But, no one I love died.
All in all, my pandemic experience wasn’t one where I can complain.
Yet, ever since the vaccine rollout here in the States, we’ve started as a society to act like it’s over. Only 40% of our population are fully vaccinated at the moment. Where I live, we are almost at 53%, yet our risk level is still at a medium.
June 1st, I went back to working in person at the university. The mask mandate was lifted for the country, so counties, businesses and individuals quickly followed suit–including my university, just days before our busiest time of the year: orientation. Hundreds of students and family members, traveling from all across the country, will be meeting with us over the summer.
Perhaps I’m just timid, now. I’m not sure. But the idea that the privledged luxury of working remote is being taken away so we can “go back to normal” rubs me the wrong way. Especially when we’re still at an immediate risk. I’m not ready to eat inside restaurants. Yet when I pick up take out, there are large groups gathered outside, waiting their turn in the rush. There are less masks at the grocery store.
It’s like everyone just expects us all to forget the past year. The lessons we could have learned, about public health, respect and, most importantly, overdue accessibility changes. Hell, perhaps that’s exactly what society wants. Personally, I hate it. I hate the rush to return to a normal that we should be fighting to reimagine and improve, instead of running back to. I hate that masks were politicized. So now, when I wear mine, it’s viewed as many different statements: an anti-vaxxer, my political affiliation, marking me as someone who is “addicted to the pandemic,” as some right-wing outlets have claimed; instead of simply being a symbol of solidarity, a message of, “Hey, I care about your health, those you love and mine.”
So, I still have some anxiety about America’s view of rushing back to normal as soon as possible. And yet, my desire to travel for upcoming cons in the fall is strong. Getting together with friends and family is wonderful. And I am so thankful we are making strides to get everyone vaxxed.
But I am also wary. I’m disheartened. And I’m torn, feeling some days safe and ready, while others feeling like we’ll never be safe again.
So, friends, if you’re feeling similar “post” pandemic pressures, you’re not alone. I’m not really sure what the “end” of this post is, only that I’m not quite sure where I stand, yet. I’d love to hear how you’re navigating this!
M.A. Crosbie says
I feel this so hard, and I hate that you’re having to navigate going back to work already!! I completely agree, it’s so frustrating to see everyone so eager to “go back to normal” when this feels like a once-in-a-century opportunity to completely rethink how we do everything—but nope. It’s just…so disheartening, as you said. But I’m sending you hugs and love, and I hope orientation isn’t TOO ridiculous <3
YES, ugh. Thank you, love.
Realms of My Mind says
Boy do I feel you. I’ve been slowly trying to ease back into “normal” life since California is lifting almost all restrictions on the 15th, but it’s stressful that no one took it seriously when the pandemic was “on” and now they’re even more devil may care. I went to the movies for the first time in a year, and despite the fact that seat purchases had been spaced out, people clearly moved into middle seats they hadn’t purchased because they didn’t want to bother with the distancing. arrrrrrrrrrrrggggghhhhhhhhh.
Gosh yes, exactly that. It’s so hard to navigate and it’s weird to navigate, as well. And come ON, people. You’d think I’d be beyond the apply to be disappointed when people can’t seem to be considerate to others, but here I am, still disappointed. I’m so sorry you had that experience ruined like that!
I wholeheartedly agree with you! It’s a very difficult thing when everyone else seems ready to jump back into what the world was before when it clearly isn’t! I am personally still wearing my mask even though I’m fully vaccinated, in fact, my whole family is doing that. I am so saddened by seeing the people who don’t understand or don’t want to understand the reality of the pandemic (since the beginning of the pandemic) and I have sort of given up on worrying about them personally. However I do still worry about other people who are just so much more vulnerable and who will basically be harmed because of people’s selfishness…
I will say this though, your feelings and your worries are completely valid, you are not alone in this! You don’t have to have had the “worst” experience this past year for your experience to be valid either.
I continue forward by connecting with those who worry like me and who care like me and hope that if we all are connected together, maybe those in the gaps between us will come around and join us. Until then, mask on, wash hands, vaccinate and boost when needed, and continue.
Yes, I am still wearing my mask anytime I go out in public, because it seriously isn’t an inconvenience to make sure everyone around me is safe?!
But thank you so much for that validation. It’s felt a little jarring to see so many people “appearing to” not have the same reservations and challenges, so having people tell me I’m not overthinking these feelings is *so* appreciated!!
Could not agree more!
Lisa @ Bookshelf Fantasies says
I agree! It’s so strange to see this “back to normal” mentality. At the same time, now that my family and I have all been vaccinated, we’ve been able to visit again for the first time and it’s been amazing. And I’ve flown to the east coast twice now to visit my elderly father, something that I couldn’t do for a year, and that’s been a blessing. Still, I don’t understand the rush to discard masks indoors. I’ve cautiously gone out to eat, but only outdoors so far, and I’ve stopped wearing a mask while out on walks, but other than that, I feel much more comfortable around other people while masked up.
I am SO glad you’ve gotten to see your family, especially after being so long apart. I definitely connect with that, too, and it’s so nice to be able to see them again. And yes, I’m definitely more comfortable masked, too!
Kal @ Reader Voracious says
This whole entire post could have been written by me. I’ve had a bit of a different situation (having my disability and progress towards returning to the working world basically put on hold) but it’s been incredibly disheartening. Like the whole time. From mask discourse to vaccine hesitancy it has just been really stressful for me to navigate. California is fully reopning on the 15th and I am still paranoid so This Is Fine.
I am so sorry you connect to this so well. AND the stress of trying to navigate all of this and just it all being so disheartening. Ugh. I hope you are able to stay safe, even with things opening up here soon!!