A Little Taste of Normalcy

I wanted to do a little check-in today on my post-vaccine life! While I’m still mostly staying at home (I’m still working from home, and it kind of feels exhausting to go out in the world all the time), I’m definitely doing more than I was just a few months ago. It still feels really strange – even though I’m fully vaccinated, and I know I’m “allowed” to be out and about, it still feels almost… wrong? But then once I’m out, it feels completely normal. So it’s just a learning curve, I guess! I’ll keep getting more comfortable with it little by little.

Heather, a white woman in a power wheelchair, is wearing a blue and white watercolor print dress. She's sitting inside at a table, and she's resting her hand on a very small to-go coffee cup. Her hair is curled and she's smiling at the camera.

I haven’t done anything major yet, though I do have a short trip planned for the end of the month! But the things that I’ve done so far are the little things, which honestly are the things that make me feel most normal. Traveling was never a super-frequent occurrence for me, so as much as I enjoy it, not traveling doesn’t feel too strange to me. But it’s the every day, commonplace things that I’ve missed the most – the time with friends, checking out a coffee shop, going out to dinner. So once I was vaccinated, those are the things that I was most anxious to add back in. And it has felt so wonderful!

I went to The Warhol a few weeks ago (read in this post), but it was for a private tour so it was a very limited crowd. Last week, though, I went to the Carnegie Natural History and Art museums (they’re both in the same building), and even made a stop at their cafe beforehand for my first coffee shop cortado in over a year! It just felt so nice to browse the museum (well, as much browsing as you can do with a toddler, since I went with my friend and her son) and chat and explore and catch up. It really did feel normal! And anyone who knows me know that I have a serious coffee addiction, so being able to get a coffee that I didn’t make at home OR isn’t cold by the time it makes it to me (like it is when I UberEats it) just felt like such a luxury!

I’ve had a few small get-togethers with friends – outdoors for larger groups, and inside for one-on-ones – and it just so great to be able to catch up with people in person again and celebrate life and the big milestone moments. In my friend group alone, we’ve had graduations, weddings, and pregnancies, most of which were shared through little screens. It’s felt so long overdue to be able to celebrate these things together, in the same space at the same time. I even have a friend coming in from New York to visit this weekend, as a raincheck of sorts from when she was supposed to be here for my graduation last year. It’s so exciting, and I can’t believe how long it’s been since we’ve seen each other.

Having this little taste at normalcy really does remind me how much I missed over the last year. It’s hard sometimes for me to wrap my mind around the fact that for a full year, I only left my house a handful of times, and only then for medically-necessary appointments. I know that everyone has been impacted by this past year one way or the other, and I know that in some ways, I’ve actually been rather fortunate. But it’s hard to really get across the absolute fear and stress and anxiety that was clouding my life during that time – and something that even I’m only noticing now that it’s much, much less present. It was a really scary time for me and my family and other disabled/chronically ill people, and it makes me sad sometimes to think that other people have been living normally when I was scared to leave my house. It’s something that’s going to take me a really long time to come to terms with.

But for now, I want to focus on the positives. I’m so appreciative of life’s small pleasures now more than ever, and I will take every single little bit of normalcy that I can get.

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