Re-entry fatigue, post-lockdown anxiety, call it what you like, I’m not ready to rewind back to February 2020.
Without a doubt I’ve been more guarded than most. While our household didn’t receive a ‘sheilding letter’ per se, the rhetoric around the dangers of Covid to those with underlying health conditions was enough for me to put my family into a self-inflicted lockdown.
For perspective I live with my parents, both over 70; perhaps if it had been just myself or myself and younger brother to think about I’d have taken more of what I perceived as risks, but I wasn’t dicing with their health for a second.
As more and more came out about long Covid, I firmly believed we’d made the right decision. The post viral symptoms of Long Covid seemed hellish and there was very little I missed or needed that I discovered I couldn’t source online.
Of course I know we’re very lucky, in a house with a garden, there was room for everyone to carry on a relatively normal if not a bit of a hermit lifestyle. With a glorious 2020 weather-wise (take note summer of 2021), there was lots of sitting in the garden, marvelling at how well wildlife was recovering without as much pollution or air traffic.
When things eased up in the summer of last year, we still opted for no changes, the vaccine drive felt optimistically in sight and of course, the amazing NHS was developing better understanding and treatment of the virus with every passing day. Would it have been nice to head back out to restaurants? Sure! But I didn’t need to ‘Eat out to help out’, my bubble was working for us and deferred gratification was practically my middle name at this point.
My only respite in this time was a fortnight trip away with my now Fiancé (we got engaged at the end of the trip), but even that was done with creating a two week bubble in mind, ensuring we were safe to return.
As we plunged back into lockdown in the winter of 2020, I felt like I’d never really left. Aside from not entertaining in the garden shed in the depths of winter (doors open of course), life rolled on as the ‘new’ normal.
But with my bubble now jabbed (I get my second on Sunday) and my wedding on the horizon, it’s time to really consider stepping back into the real world.
Of course we feel incredibly lucky. While planning a wedding during Covid has made things tricky (wedding dress shopping being top of my list of things not to attempt in a pandemic), we’re so blessed that we never had to move our date and according to regulations can have the day as we originally planned. But like many others, despite being delighted that we can stand up, sing and dance at our own wedding, with guests only limited by our budget, I’m also slightly terrified.
I’ve been around maybe a dozen people at best since early 2020. I remember as it felt inevitable that we would have restrictions, we had a few friends for dinner, as they left I promised a fabulous post Covid party (naively like many assuming we’d be back to business by the summer) but I never imagined that the post-lockdown party would be my wedding.
As we edge closer to the day I’m so excited to see so many friends that I’ve not seen in months, to celebrate finding a man that doesn’t flinch at flat pack furniture and who whisks spiders outside to the garden like some kind of Dr Doolittle. But I can’t pretend I’m not utterly terrified.
While many friends have suggested heading back into normal society in preparation for the big day, we feel far too close to our own personal freedom day to take any more risks. With a number of friends stuck abroad unable to attend and others too nervous to come, it has really made me think about my own anxiety of post lockdown life.
Of course we’re putting in precautions, working with our venue to ensure everyone is as safe as possible in these uncertain times but I hope on the day itself buoyed by excitement and adrenalin I wont second guess embracing friends (that are happy not to distance) and that I’ll be able to let go (if not, there is always tequila). I know we have to start living normally again, I just hope I remember how.
image: Wedding Vectors by Vecteezy