Last night I mentioned to Bhavna that I was having some challenges getting back into my pre-pandemic habits. Hiking, Friday lunches with friends, and early morning photography walks were some of my activities before the pandemic. I was always quick to rise. I told her that I think I am still mourning the loss of "before". When I was a child, our family moved around the Caribbean quite a bit as Dad pursued his career goals with Barclays. It would take me a year or two to make friends and learn the local customs. Moving meant leaving behind the close friends I had made and the food and culture I had adapted to. It was painful, and I think I learned to just "let go" and adjust again to the new reality. I continued that practice as I pursued my studies in the USA, moving from university to university (Madison, New Jersey, Atlanta, Georgia, Ann Arbor. Michigan) and then back to New Jersey. I continued to say goodbye and move on.
I think I did the same during the two years of the pandemic. I had to let go of the "before". I let it ALL go. I adjusted to building a community around just a few places; my sister-in-law's garage and driveway, the outdoor space at the Brick Farm Tavern, and Flounder Brewing. But unlike my previous experiences, I didn’t move. Everyone and everything is still here. The pandemic ended, but all the places and people never left.
I think part of me is afraid. I don’t know how to reintegrate into "before" habits, places, and friends. I’m struggling.