COVID19 life

Adding back . . .

June 30, 2021

A very common late-pandemic trope is the discussion about adding things back slowly and not feeling ready to do too much yet. One example of where I’ve heard it mentioned frequently is Edit Your Life (a show I really enjoy).

Many people have related that the slower paced pandemic life felt good in some ways. In fact, I myself probably could find passages where I went on about how all one really needs is a walk outside and that we were “over scheduled” before.

Except now I find myself mostly wanting to do everything we were doing before. And in some cases, more. I was really burned out when it came to socializing around fall/winter 2019, and also very much ready for a break from traveling.

Now I am basically game for anything.

Is it just me?

Things I am hoping to do:

Host people at our house. Book club? BBQ?

Enroll the kids back in more activities. I’d prefer for them to be vaccinated first but if rates remain low in our community, I’m not sure I would feel strongly about waiting for that. Currently they are doing ice skating weekly for the summer, but next year I am thinking about piano for C, art for A, mixed martial arts for C, gymnastics for A/G, and soccer for A&C.

Go on more trips – short couples trips with Josh, conferences for work where I can really immerse into the subject matter, family vacations + day trips.

Plan in some fun evening activities – like some date nights or an in-person yoga class.

Maybe I’m supposed to be feeling more trepidation, but instead I feel acutely aware of the missed experiences of 2020 and I guess maybe I just feel like making up for lost time. Furthermore, the ‘sensory deprivation’ aspect has me more excited about things I was tired of before.

Anyway, this is where I am right now. I realize there is probably a regional aspect to my current experiences.

I also recognize that the pandemic certainly isn’t over. But as long as guidelines allow it and vaccines are effective, I am going to enjoy life in a quasi-normal fashion. (I have no problem sticking to masks in many settings + doing things outdoors when possible!).

ice skating = our one summer activity. Masks + helmets now!


  • Reply Chelsea June 30, 2021 at 7:00 am

    I feel the same way! My kids turned 5 and 3 during the pandemic and I feel like all those activities that I was looking forward to like; library activities, dance classes and camps, all for taken away just when we were going to get to do them! So now I’m like lets go do all the things! Or numbers are low too, I guess I’m just giddy with feelings of relative safety and the joy of summer time together!

  • Reply Gillian June 30, 2021 at 7:09 am

    We have been pretty much back to our normal activities for kids throughout the past school year here in suburban NYC. The only missing piece was soccer for my oldest son. But martial arts (sometimes outside, sometimes inside with masks), piano, violin and tennis were all back on the schedule. Things that weren’t normal were parent meetings for school and many of the socializing for adults. Honestly I would like the option to attend kindergarten orientation via zoom while I drive home from work to stick around. The adult social stuff seems to be returning with a vengeance this summer. I enjoy it.

  • Reply Alyce June 30, 2021 at 7:36 am

    I go through fits and spurts of adding a ton in, pulling back. I enjoy having enough activity to thoughtfully plan weekends. Of course, we recently had a wedding celebration and week long family vacation with my husband’s family, and two (fully vaccinated!) people tested positive for covid. Thankfully, they had mild symptoms and were on the mend quickly, and we just got negative test results in my immediate family, but it does make me wary. I was supposed to fly down to Atlanta this weekend to visit my family for the first time since Christmas 2019, and I’m a little paranoid because I have two siblings who refuse to get vaccinated, even though one of them has a ton of serious comorbidities and would surely have a very negative outcome if she got covid. So I dunno if I should go or not, negative test aside. Which sounds like the same kind of conversation I was having a year ago…..

    • Reply A. June 30, 2021 at 12:44 pm

      Hi Alyce, I am curious: were all the guests at the wedding fully vaccinated?

      • Reply Alyce June 30, 2021 at 6:03 pm

        Everyone was fully vaccinated except my two year old, who didn’t have any contact with the initial person to get sick so no one thinks my daughter was the source even though she’s in daycare and technically the most exposed/the weakest link in the chain. It was a very small gathering, just the groom and bride’s immediate family – 15 people. The initial person probably arrived contagious, and got the second person sick at the rehersal dinner the night before the wedding. It was a dinner at my in laws’ home. People were inside only briefly as we were arriving and departing and when people got food, which was set up inside. Most of the conversation and eating happened outside. The first sick person had a brief one on one conversation with the second sick person indoors as everyone was leaving. The first sick person woke up the next day feeling sick and immediately got tested and stayed home from the wedding (as did my daughter and I). The wedding was entirely outdoors. The second person started showing symptoms Wednesday the following week, when we were all on vacation together sharing a cabin in the woods not interacting with anyone outside my husband’s family. So the only interaction between the two fully vaccinated people who got sick was a short indoor, unmasked conversation. It kinda undermines my confidence in how well vaccination prevents spread (though they both had very mild symptoms, so maybe that’s where vaccination made all the difference), and makes me not want to risk it where my unvaccinated siblings are concerned.

        • Reply Sarah Hart-Unger July 1, 2021 at 7:37 am

          wow – that is a scary story. Thank you for sharing- important reminder that this isn’t over, though it does feel very different from 2020/pre-vax. i’m glad at least no one with a vaccine got seriously ill.

          • Alyce July 1, 2021 at 5:25 pm

            Yeah, we were definitely still making very conservative choices even though all adults were vaccinated. Partly because of my daughter, but mostly because my sister in law has a lot of lingering anxiety around covid and we were humoring her (she stayed masked indoors through all of this, yet was also kind enough not to tell us she told us so). I’m somewhat shocked that fully vaccinated people transmitted and caught covid given relatively little exposure – I would have thought it took more exposure.I will certainly think twice about indoor gatherings, but there’s still no going back to pre-vaccination days. Look, I do all kinds of risky things that could harm me (drive a car, leave my house during flu season), etc. and I’d long since made peace with those things. I can’t distinguish why covid should be treated so differently at this point in the pandemic wher I can readily get medical care if needed.

  • Reply Chelsea June 30, 2021 at 8:03 am

    Things I do not want to do again:
    1. Work in an office outside our home. WFH4LIFE!
    2. Get caught in an anchor event death march. I had this notion that I was failing/everything would descend into chaos if we were ever at home for a whole day. Now I’m much happier just planning things that seem fun as they come up. That means some weeks/weekends are full and some are empty, but it all basically evens out, and yeah – sometimes there’s chaos if we are home all day – but it’s not forever.

    Things I am looking forward to:
    1. My little one going back to preschool. HIs preschool shut down for the entire pandemic and because of reduced capacity we couldn’t get him a spot anywhere else. He is so excited about going to school.
    2. Kid birthday parties. My kids all have fall/winter birthdays which means the perfect weather for outside parties.

    Those are the things that stand out most prominently in my mind.

  • Reply Irene June 30, 2021 at 8:25 am

    I’m with you- I am delighted to be doing stuff again especially social stuff. When ever possible we are doing outdoor things which can be tricky because of the heat so LOTS of pool time and trying to schedule social things for cooler days and times which still adds a layer of complexity.

    We have a big out door family reunion coming up and I think we will go for a few hours and leave before people start invariably heading indoors. I am concerned there are going to be lockdowns again in my highly vaccinated but very cautious area this fall so I’m definitely interested in doing stuff now while we can.

    The biggest thing is still no in person counseling for my 6 year old. I wrote about this earlier and then spent multiple hours researching other providers and realized in our area they are still nearly all virtual. I got her on a couple waitlists for in person providers but they are more than 6 months long. For me the pandemic will not be remotely over until we figure this aspect of our life out. I do not get it given OT and PT and SWIM lessons are all in person now.

    • Reply Irene June 30, 2021 at 9:29 am

      PS- I wanted to say thanks for writing so openly about this stuff. I really enjoy hearing your thoughts and those from your other smart readers. I find these things difficult to discuss in real life for fear of hurting others feelings but am so curious).

      I am also fascinated by the way that people are talking about kids under 12 being vaccinated as if it’s a sure thing in the near future. I have to admit I personally think the risk profile is VERY different in little kids especially with reports of myocarditis in young adults. I will be looking at that data very carefully when it comes out and fully expect the advisory panel to do the same. I hope we have a safe and effective vaccine for young kids soon, of course, but I wish even more we could get to herd immunity with all adults being vaccinated ASAP… a pipe dream I know.

  • Reply lawandcreative June 30, 2021 at 8:28 am

    Great post! I guess I am enjoying having the option to do most of the things, even if in reality I don’t do many of them. 🙂

  • Reply CBS June 30, 2021 at 8:51 am

    We’re in the midst of a pretty brutal third wave here in the UK, so remaining very cautious, restricting to outdoor stuff (plus childcare and office as necessary). I’m quite happy to continue for a few more months but am ready for in-studio yoga and my fully vaccinated parents to come for a visit.

    • Reply Stacey July 1, 2021 at 6:01 am

      Yep, my daughter’s primary school is back to remote learning (and therefore all the end of school year events, including her leaver’s events (she’s in Y6) have had to be cancelled) because there were so many cases at the school. I was already wary about everything opening up and this has made me even more so. And I don’t expect the govt to approve the vaccine for teens either.

  • Reply gwinne June 30, 2021 at 8:55 am

    I think part of your approach has to do with being an extrovert 🙂

    As someone who is highly introverted and spent the bulk of the pandemic with a loud ADHD kid at home my adding back is a lot of *scheduled* quiet time (in the form of childcare and playdates). There was also a flurry of post-vax get togethers and now they are starting to take their toll on me so I need to scale back.

    I’m taking care of things that have been put off for a long time, like having our carpets cleaned.

    I have for the most part had a strict one-activity-at-a-time for elementary school kids. Perhaps if I had another adult in the house I would feel differently, but probably not. Tiny Boy is signed up for soccer in the fall, and I might add a once-a-week swimming lesson. Definitely no more than that. LG is doing a lot but also of the age where they can work out their own transportation (bus! friends with drivers’ licenses! potentially an UBER!) so that opens things up that don’t require me.

    I haven’t decided when I am going back to the gym. I bought a treadmill I really like, and it turns out I like doing yoga via youtube. I miss the pool, the hottub, the track, some machines, and indoor basketball court (for Tiny Boy)….but will probably wait until after he’s vaccinated to seriously consider rejoining. In the meantime, I might find an adult dance class.

    this is also probably summer optimism talking. My schedule will be so much more hectic when I’m teaching in the fall (in person).

  • Reply Ashley G. June 30, 2021 at 9:31 am

    I have found that, generally speaking, I’m excited to do things more so than I was before. That being said, the kid activity list that you have there nearly made me break out in hives. Turns out the pandemic didn’t make me feel any differently about kid activities 🙂

  • Reply Lisa of Lisa's Yarns June 30, 2021 at 9:41 am

    I’m a hard-core introvert but have also found myself excited to add some things back to our schedule like dinners w/ girlfriends and in-person book club. Both of those I’ve done outdoors on a restaurant patio or at a park/someone’s back yard. I’m not super keen to eat indoors yet, though. But I’m immune compromised so am supposed to continue to wear a mask so indoor dining feels unnecessary/less safe for me. That said, our case rates have dropped drastically since so many have been vaccinated here, so that’s a decision I’ll continue to re-assess. The only activity we’ve added back is swimming lessons for our 3yo. It’s been a rough return to swimming lessons, though. He hadn’t gone to lessons since last Feb and that was with me in the pool. Now he goes into the pool by himself and that combined w/ the long absence from lessons has been hard for our extremely cautious kid. 🙁 There are only 3 kids and an instructor so he gets tons of personal attention and it’s extremely safe but he has barely participated in lessons. His teacher said this is typical, especially post-pandemic but I hope he gets more comfortable and does more soon…

    The best thing we’ve done lately is SEE FAMILY! With our son in daycare and me being immune-compromised, we barely saw family last year! Last weekend I saw my 98yo grandma for the first time in nearly 2 years and saw my older sister and her 2 younger kids for the first time in 1.5 years. And a couple of weeks ago we had some of my husband’s family over for dinner. Seeing family is what I missed more than anything!

  • Reply Elisabeth June 30, 2021 at 10:10 am

    Wow! That feels like so much to me (an introvert), but good on you for being game to jump back in with two feet!
    I think the nice thing about the pandemic is it has taught us there IS alot more choice than we might have realized.. We might be able to ask to attend parent teacher via zoom, or think about pulling our kids out of a few of their activities. I think it has made as better aware of what we were doing because of societal pressure vs. what we really want to do for the maximization of our physical and mental wellbeing. For some people, it’s “bring on ALL the activities”. For others, it’s recognizing they function best with a lot more white space than they had pre-pandemic.

    This is all assuming there is choice in the matter. Some people who may want to ratchet things up could be in the middle of a 3rd wave, or have had things happen because of COVID that have dramatically changed their lifestyles (loss or change of job, a move, working from home etc).

    Also, living in Canada, I find it beyond hilarious to see skating lessons happening in the middle of summer! What a great lesson for the summer (hello cool temperatures), it just feels so ironic since skating is a huge activity in Canada, but is reserved almost exclusively for the wintertime (both indoors and out)!

  • Reply Amy June 30, 2021 at 11:13 am

    As a major introvert, I’m really happy to continue to hang out with my husband and our dog. I never loved social gatherings before, so I don’t miss them and am honestly not even a little excited about getting together with people. I’ve had monthly zoom calls with my best friends from high school which was honestly more than we ever caught up before. I’m really content to stick with those and just chill at home. Plus as an introvert who works in public service (librarian), I expend most of my social energy at work each day. I may feel differently if I didn’t have to be so social at work or if I worked from home (honestly, WFH is a life goal that I didn’t consider when choosing a career!). It’s nice that we can all find a balance that works for us now that so many are vaccinated.

  • Reply Lori C June 30, 2021 at 12:33 pm

    I feel the same! I have slowly started easing back to normal and it mostly feels good. My husband is immunocompromised, so I expected some trepidation, but mostly iI have been feeling joy and relief! I love hugging coworkers I haven’t seen in over a year, and I got a sick satisfaction in donating a bunch of our masks to a clothing recycling bin 🙂 The anticipation of future travel is so sweet. What a year it’s been.

  • Reply omdg June 30, 2021 at 1:21 pm

    Daughter has a FULL schedule for the month of July. August she will be back to 1/2 day camp, which is much more sustainable. In the Fall we’re keeping riding once per week, piano once per week, Italian class once per week. I’m also thinking about having her do rec and ed soccer. She’s currently doing rec and ed softball, and ostensibly “hating” it, but seems to have fun while she’s out there and is getting better by the day, so we will see. I’m also planning on having her join the local pony club so she can do activities that way too.

    For myself — I went to an in person baby shower a month ago, and am co-planning another party for August (which is weird for me because I lack the party-planner gene). We also had people over for dinner and swimming recently, and our neighbors over for drinks last week. IDK… I want to make some new friends here and I finally can!

    Husband re-started master’s swimming this week also.

    I guess we can stop some things if it starts feeling exhausting. Right now I feel exhilarated so I’m just going with it.

    I’ll bet we have a delta variant surge in late summer. Here’s hoping they decide they can vaccinate younger kids before school starts up again this fall.

  • Reply Emma June 30, 2021 at 2:17 pm

    I am quite introverted, but I am really ready for things to resume, and so excited Highland Dance competitions have opened back up! Kid activities have been going strong masked and distanced in my area, and I am excited for those too (I also teach kid activities–dance). My two kids do 3-5 after school/daycare activities weekly, one of which I’m the teacher for, and that’s about what I did growing up as well. I don’t think kids should do activities they don’t enjoy, but I don’t really understand the hate for kid activities I hear some people express (not you), and including them is definitely a priority for me as both a parent and a dance teacher.

  • Reply Jessica July 1, 2021 at 8:49 pm

    My problem is it feels impossible to find the right balance with four kids. Right now they are all playing baseball, but four kids on four different teams is busy. I want them all to have active, enriching lives, but it wears me out! It isn’t like I can pick my two favorite kids who get to do activities, lol. During Covid it was too little, but I definitely feel like it is too much now.

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