I don’t know how to reintegrate back into "before" habits and places and friends

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.


I am struggling.

Wow. I am struggling with the last few challenges. I live in an alternative universe where I am one of the few who hates everything about winter with freezing weather and grey skies every day for weeks.

Show us the things you love that makes your world spin or something about your world that make you delirious with joy.

I love hiking and bathing in the light falling through the leaves of the forest canopy. I love warm (but not hot) weather and barbecues in the back yard with close friends and family. I love a day down the shore. I love photographing Warblers that visit from the Caribbean. I love hanging out at the local tavern on a Friday after work and long mid-week lunches with my friends. I love hiking for hours in the forest and woods. I love touring craft micro-breweries.

If the current situation with vaccine distribution offers any glimpse into the future, it looks like I won't experience any of that joy for at least another year.