For the last year, the prospect of contracting COVID-19 scared me. I stayed at home, masked up, ate in, sanitized, used curbside grocery shopping, modified holidays until they were almost unrecognizable, and generally hunkered down to ride it out. I got used to the new routines and stayed very faithful to them, partly out of concern for others, and partly out of self-preservation. I watched the pandemic roll across the globe, and I was afraid. For myself, for my aged parents, for my children and their children, and for all of us.

On Friday we will get our second round of Moderna, and join the growing group of people who have taken an important step toward beating back the pandemic. We’re beginning to talk about seeing friends, visiting our children and my parents, going into a grocery, a bookstore, a restaurant.

And I’m afraid.

I’m an introvert and have usually been at least a little uncomfortable in groups. My private nature has made hunkering down a relatively small adjustment, and I mostly worried in a general sense about the essential workers, and wondered at the risks the more (daring, reckless, stupid — pick your descriptor) among the rest of us were willing to accept. The thought of stepping back into the world scares the hell out of me.

One of our friends asked us to join him and his wife to celebrate her birthday yesterday. It was just the four of us, they have been as careful as we have been, we were out on their porch, they are fully vaccinated, and we have already had the first round. It was a relatively short visit, no birthday hugs, and all four of us were very careful. I spent a good portion of the morning worrying about the lunch visit. While it was really good to make contact, limited as it was, with good friends, it was hard. That very small step was difficult.

It took a little while to settle into the quarantine routine; I wonder about letting go of it. It’s become comfortable. I think about picking up where I left off a year ago, and it seems so very risky, like I’m consciously deciding to put myself and those around me at risk.

Life is risk. I know this. I know I’ll figure out how to adjust to whatever the new parameters and expectations are. Learning how to minimize risk in the post-quarantine environment is going to be a challenge for all of us, and scary for some, including me.

Wish me luck, y’all.

Published by


A career working with teenagers on the fringes of society has made me both sensitive to and appreciative of the complexities of character and the struggles, inner and outer, that we all wrestle with in one form or another. My writing emphasizes character development over action, and, as a lifelong Southerner, the rhythms and cadence of the Southeastern United States influence both my spoken and written voice.

2 thoughts on “Reentry

  1. Jim, I am having the same concerns…as an introvert, I have become so comfortable in my seclusion. I love having so much time without distractions. However, my love for travel, family and friends will eventually override my love for aloneness – once it is safe of course. Good luck!


  2. I completely get it, Jim. I’m also an introvert. I think life during the pandemic has been easier for us than our extroverted friends. I have been very careful all year, shopping online or curbside, going nowhere except my daughters’ or my porches, seeing no one other than my daughters…always outside, always masked. Last Friday I celebrated two weeks out from my second Pfizer shot…new found freedom. I went to the hair salon for the first time since Feb 2020. I still look witchy but now stylishly witchy. Despite the vaccine, I will still mask in public and keep public interactions at a minimum and of short duration. My re-immersion into society will be slow and cautious. Normal for me will be the “new normal”. No restaurants except patios, no movies, no markets, no concerts. I am afraid of the variants and the efficacy of the vaccine against them. And I am afraid of the oblivious, the wantonly ignorant, and the selfish among us who refuse to take the simplest of precautions. With the variants increasing, the hatred unleashed, and the divisiveness in the country and throughout the world, I am afraid. Sometimes it seems as though the end days must be approaching. I have no answers as to how to fix any of this or make it better. It seems as though we are speeding toward the edge of a cliff. I try to take one day at a time, celebrating the most important things in life like emailing old friends, being with family and finally hugging, and delighting in the great adventure of a visit to the hairstylist for a haircut and, today, an hour at Lowe’s, for the first time in a year. I do wish you luck, Jim. I wish all of us luck.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s