Slow and Weird Return to “Normalcy”

It feels amazing to begin returning to some of life’s normal activities that have been missing for the past 15 months or so, but it also continues to feel incredibly odd, and more than a little uncomfortable at times.  Whether it’s walking through the grocery store without a mask on (thank you vaccination), or getting to hit some favorite restaurants again, there are just so many little joys to have to relearn.

I still walk around with a mask in my pocket most of the time, as there are still some places asking everyone to wear a mask, but for the most part it’s just a habit that has been built up over the last year or so.  I will admit that it does sometimes still feel like I am doing something wrong when I am going maskless in public spaces, but hopefully that will fade over time.  I am encouraged to see a fair number of people still wearing masks, as the hope is that it correlates to the number of people who aren’t vaccinated at this point.  My hope is that people are being smart and protecting themselves and their loved ones, as while we are seeing some amazing progress we still have a ways to go before we are out of this mess.

This week we hit another favorite restaurant of ours, Hawkers, in South End in Charlotte after spending some time actually in a mall catching up on some summer clothes shopping for my wife and daughter.  We were going to take a look at the new IPad Pro’s as well, but the line and wait for the Apple store was way longer than we were willing to deal with that day.  There were times when it definitely felt uncomfortable to have so many people around in an enclosed space, but I’m sure it will feel natural again soon enough.  It definitely feels like some weight has been removed that we had even forgotten we were carrying around these past few months, and the outlook for summer just seems so much more positive.  Still need to figure out the plan for Memorial Day, hopefully some hiking and definitely some good food, but we will kind of play that as it comes this upcoming weekend.  After that it’s off to Savannah for my daughter’s tour of SCAD, plus a couple of extra days to enjoy the city.  Be prepared for pictures of dark chocolate covered Oreo’s and Nutter Butter’s.

I have so many travel plans to actually finalize and move forward over the next month or so as more and more places open up.  It seems like all I had been doing was dreaming about being able to travel again, and in the blink of an eye it has become a reality.  I hope you have been captured by the same sense of optimism and surprise, and are starting to feel like things are heading back to normal.  Just remember we still need to have patience with each other, and hopefully we can show those who are hesitant that the vaccines are safe, very effective and allow for a renewed sense of adventure and hope.  We also have a unique opportunity to redefine what the “normal” is that we return to, as hopefully we have all learned some things about ourselves and changes we want to see in the world around us.  There is a once in a lifetime opportunity to make big changes in society, to create new pathways and opportunities for everyone to have renewed chances to push us all forward.

The Free Range Viking

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