Re-Entry: Just Do YOU!
April 15, 2021
Re-Entry: Just Do YOU!
My partner and I got to visit with a friend from Chicago recently. We made it clear that we wouldn’t be hanging in our house because I was still not fully vaccinated (I get my 2nd vaccine mid-April). But we found other ways to enjoy each other while respecting this new boundary. A result of this visit and other positive happenings is that I have begun to dream again, like hugging dear ones who I have not seen or have only seen from a distance or over Zoom for the past year. Kim and I have also both begun to dream, envision, and chat about travel (one of our passions). As the dreaming has begun organically, conversations with thoughtful questions have taken place. We hesitate to just jump back into life as we knew it before the pandemic. After all, we have internalized a year of public health precautions. We now wear masks in public. We social distance from others. We have stopped hugging and shaking hands with friends. We have been trained on how to keep ourselves and others safe. Thus, it makes sense that when faced with re-entry, our bodies say, “Slow down. Don’t rush!”
Many experts are suggesting that as we all re-enter our lives more fully, it might help to start small. If you are like me and are feeling a bit wary or filled with anticipation, you may want to take time to reflect on where you are emotionally during this transition.
What does starting small look like? Well, for me, it’s dipping my toe in the water to see how it feels. Getting together in a controlled way with our friend was a good start. It may seem like a baby step to some of you. For others, it may seem like no big deal. Starting small will mean and look different to all of us. For some, planning a trip out of town to visit family may be a small step. For others, that is a bigger step. It is so important to ask yourself what baby steps feel right for you.
Understand Everyone Is Different
It’s going to be crucial that we all understand that we are in different places and that we respect where everyone is in their transition to re-entry. My mom was still cautious about getting together with a friend (both of whom were fully vaccinated). I wish I had been more understanding and compassionate at the time she shared this. Habits take effort and mindfulness to change in the best of circumstances. We have had over 380 days of keeping ourselves safe, and many people have handled this time differently. It stands to reason that we will be in a variety of places as we contemplate and plan for re-entry.
Because we are all in different places emotionally, be sure to set boundaries that work and that support where you are. You might discover that places begin to open where you live. Don’t feel that you must go anywhere that doesn’t feel safe to you. Realize that you may and probably will have disagreements with friends and loved ones about what feels safe. This has already begun for me. Kim and I have been asked to visit friends whom we would have to fly to. Due to the increased infection rate across the country and the airlines not spacing where people sit, Kim and I have decided that we don’t feel comfortable getting on an airplane at this time. This is our boundary, and it is our choice to voice this boundary.
Get Ready for Challenging Conversations
Let’s be honest. Restrictions have varied all over our country and world. Heck, they have varied within my own community. Every household has approached this time differently. Don’t get lost making a list of what people have done and not done to keep themselves and their families safe. Instead, brace yourself for open and honest conversations. Be prepared for people not being where you are. Respect what other people are comfortable with. Kim and I will hopefully be visiting with my mom in the next month, and having these conversations is part of my plan to support my mom, Kim, and myself. Do people feel comfortable going to a restaurant? Would you rather eat outside or inside? How comfortable are folks with going to a museum or a movie theater?
I am envisioning having a number of these conversations moving forward. Asking about the status of people’s vaccination will probably be one of my questions for everyone’s sake.
Go at Your Own Pace
Most important, take your time. Don’t feel pushed to do anything that you are not ready to do. Listen to yourself. Reflect where your comfort is regarding differing activities, and pace yourself. Also, realize that there will be weird moments for all of us as we navigate re-entering our lives. At the end of the day, do what truly feels best to you, and honor your fears, anxieties, and aspirations. They are all absolutely OK. And remember, if there are new habits that you have acquired during the past year that you really like, honor those too.
I love stories—especially really good ones. Naturally, I was intrigued by the podcast of a fellow life coach, Michael Trotta: Story Mischief. It explores how stories make us who we are. I have been fortunate enough to experience Trotta and his amazing gift of storytelling in person. He has always been able to pull me in. So, he encouraged me to take a listen to one episode, and I really liked it. Now I’m hooked.
Take a listen and enjoy!
This has been one heck of a year folks for so many reasons. However, I would like to take this space to simply state clearly how inspired I am by all the people of color who I have chosen to learn from. The list is long. That will be another blog post. Suffice it to say that I am eternally grateful for all I have learned and all that I continue to learn. I am currently reading The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness. Can I just say wow! Michelle Alexander is an amazing writer and an amazing teacher. This book should be an essential read for everyone. It is challenging, but it is a good challenging. I would rather live a life where I am doing my best to see the full picture, and Alexander helps provide a lot of the missing pieces.