After over a year of lockdowns, social distancing, and frustration, I see a light at the end of the tunnel. Soon I’ll receive my first dose of a vaccine that should steer my life back into a sense of normalcy. I’m finally starting to think about what I’ll do when this pandemic ends instead of if. But right now, I’m not actually sure what that looks like.
In the Before Times (BT), I was obsessed with Brazilian jiu-jitsu and I was always up for concerts, bars, and shows. In other words, I was into mingling closely with throngs of sweaty humans to exchange bodily droplets as efficiently as possible. After a year of doing the polar opposite, I’m less inclined to swan dive back into humanity. I now understand why Luke Skywalker was so weird in The Last Jedi. And if a mere reference to the Star Wars sequels triggers an angry nerd response, please stop now (this is mostly directed at myself).
So what is my game plan? First, I need to organize my thoughts in a blog post. Between various world disasters and a miserable political season (which could have also been a disaster), 2020 was not a great year for my headspace. I couldn’t focus on reading books or writing anything outside of work as you can see on my neglected blog. If I can’t recenter my brain, it won’t matter whether I’m invincible to disease or not. Here’s where I have a head (pun intended) start.
Starting in January 2021, I focused on weaning myself off of doomscrolling news feeds so I can actually read a book. I’m proud to say that as of writing this post, I’ve read 13 books in 2021 and I plan on continuing this for the year and beyond. This brings me to my first post-vaccine destination—once I’m granted my immunity superpowers, I want to spend time in my favorite third space: the library. It’s a happy, quiet sanctuary where folks have always practiced social distancing and obnoxious behavior is especially frowned upon. This is the perfect baby step for integrating back into society.
I’m going to proudly lean into my Millennial heritage and announce that my next destination is brunch. I’m typically not a day drinker, but I’ve lived in Pittsburgh long enough to crave an I.C. Light Mango with a hot breakfast that I don’t have to cook myself n’at. There’s nothing more carefree than sharing a late morning with people you care about around great food and alcohol. Sure, I could do this at home, but it’s not the same without the long lines, the slow service, and the hunger pangs that remind you that you’re a fool for deciding to go to brunch specifically because you’re hungry.
Pro tip: Eat a snack before brunch because it might actually be lunch by the time you eat!
I know I’ve talked a lot about Brazilian jiu-jitsu in the past, but right now I’m not sure about my relationship with the sport. In the BT, I attended classes and open mats (i.e., open sparring) about 5 times a week. It was almost like going through withdrawal when lockdowns started happening and I finally felt the gravity of the situation. As you could see in my last post, I focused on running, Ring Fit Adventure, and home workouts. Since then, I’ve added resistance bands to my routine that I would highly recommend if you want to expand (pun intended again) your home workouts too. But nothing quite filled the jiu-jitsu sized hole in my heart at the time.
That said, my feelings on the matter have shifted. The jiu-jitsu community as a whole seems to have decided that the dangers of the pandemic are a personal choice rather than a social one and that’s what ultimately kept me from missing the sport. This attitude is not limited to jiu-jitsu and it’s a massive reason why the pandemic has continued for over a year and over 500,000 people have died. This was a personal choice.
I acknowledge that I’m privileged enough that I not only stayed employed through this ordeal, but I was able to work from home so that I could stay healthy and not spread the virus. I joke around a lot, but I’ve taken this public health crisis as seriously as I could and I hate that I have to remind myself that it was worth it. Because it was absolutely worth it. And if you did the same in this past year, I genuinely want to thank you—especially if no one else has said it.
I’ll be counting down the days until I get both vaccine doses. That’s the difference between April 2020 and April 2021.