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Saturday, September 23, 2023
BlogIt’s almost summer. Are you ready for the big return to “normal”?

It’s almost summer. Are you ready for the big return to “normal”?

I was going to write about burnout…but, guess what? Life’s just too good right now. The energy shift is almost palpable, even just in the last few weeks. In that time, I got my second vaccine and didn’t die. I attended a small indoor celebration for a few high school graduates (can we all please, if we know someone who is graduating, give them some serious love?), and I finally welcomed a couple of neighbor kids into my home to play with my kids! 

It’s almost summer. Are you feeling it, too? Aside from the Rockefeller-level gas prices, life is so good it’s scary! We’ve all been psychologically waterboarded for the past fifteen months and now we’re drying our faces, breathing in deeply, and getting a taste of sweet, sweet sunlight.

What is life going to look like on that magical day, June 15th, when everything opens up in California? Some people that I talk to are scared; others are thrilled. I guess I fall in that in-between category. I certainly won’t miss wearing masks outdoors, but I have no idea how on Earth my brain will function seeing people mask free at Trader Joe’s (that’s right, it’s not going to be a requirement come June 15th).

Then there’s the big question of “How do you know if someone that’s not wearing a mask is vaccinated?” Well, you don’t. You just don’t. What we do know is that 50.8% of the population in California has been fully vaccinated, and 12.8% is now partially vaccinated. That population total includes children under 12, who are not yet eligible. In other words, we’re doing amazing. 

I come out of the darkness feeling disoriented and strange. My birth family is still in Canada, where I can’t visit without quarentining for two weeks. Other than my running pals, my bonds with friends in the area have been pretty pathetic during COVID, as I found myself clinging tightly to childhood friends back in Canada for familiarity and comfort. There’s just something about being really known and knowing someone during a crisis that only 20+ years of friendship can supply.

If you’ve had a tough time being motivated to stay in touch with everyone that was in your life before the pandemic, you’re not alone. There are only so many phone calls and zoom meetings a person can handle while their brains are exploding. And if you don’t find yourself rushing to a million barbecues and birthday parties — either because you weren’t invited or because you feel overwhelmed — give yourself a break. Although the one thing we’ve all been dreaming of seems to finally be happening, being out of the social game can make it hard to get back in. 

Meanwhile, if you’re feeling like you’re ready to socialize and having a pity party because you’re not invited to do something, guess what? It’s probably because a lot of other people are feeling the precise way you’re feeling. One thing my dad taught me when I was a kid is: “No matter what you’re feeling or what you’re going through, there are likely millions of people in the world who are feeling the exact same way or going through the exact same thing.” That might sound insensitive or minimizing, but I know it wasn’t meant that way. I’ve always found tremendous comfort in that fact. It’s something that plays in my mind each time I have a hardship or am feeling less than optimal. The ebbs and flows we are going through in life are being felt by thousands, if not millions of other people on this Earth — especially now, during this time when we have been united by the universal experience of the pandemic.

I say this all to encourage you to give yourself some grace no matter what your psychological situation is during this unique time. The most beautiful thing you can do is talk to someone about it. They probably had no idea you felt that way, and might even feel the same way, too. 


Vanessa Dueck
Vanessa Dueck is a Milpitas resident training for the USA 2024 Olympic Marathon trials.


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