During my twenties you could find me at every social gathering I could find. I was living it up with work happy hours, dinner with friends a few nights a week, and fun travel adventures. Then, in my early thirties I began to settle down a bit, and cozying up at home didn’t feel so bad. In fact, I actually enjoyed being a bit of a homebody. And now at almost 37 and a full-time business owner with two toddlers, I find myself somewhere in between.
But then COVID-19 happened and my world, just like everyone else’s, became nothing short of a rollercoaster. We spent most of the spring and early summer locking it down. Our days consisted of multitasking work responsibilities and parenting duties. Weekends were a mix of hectic fear (of the unknown) and quiet calm with just the four of us being together. I’m sure you can relate.
Fast forward to the fall of 2020 and I feel like a new page within this odd chapter of life has begun. We aren’t fully quarantined anymore. The kids are back to daycare, my husband is working from his office, and we see friends and family. Being at home with our kids is nice but social interaction among adults is definitely needed.
So, I’ve been left to ponder this decision. Should we continue to stay within our safety net? Or is it time (for sanity’s sake) to venture beyond little get-togethers at homes and head to restaurants, bars, and small events?
I’ll be honest, the answer has been less than clear. It’s felt a bit like a first pregnancy. Excitement mixed with fear and some, “Am I crazy?” moments have taken over my normally rational thoughts. Who could have imagined sitting at a four-top and enjoying a beer could be such a stressful decision? Surely not my 25-year-old self.
So, here’s where I am with it. Most of our weekends are spent doing stuff around the house and, yes, enjoying that awesome fire pit we’re lucky enough to have. The neighbors come over and we pretend for a few hours that all is good in the world. Occasionally we go out and meet up with close friends. We all wear masks and social distance from strangers. When we get to our table, we remove our masks and talk, laugh, and truly enjoy ourselves.
I choose to let go of the what if’s for a few hours and allow myself to take a mental break from all the heaviness. I hug my friends and feel grateful that I get to see them. I do these things because I know as soon as I step back in the door, the reality of this year will strike. So, I deserve (as we all do) to relax and live like we’re in our adventurous early twenties when the worries were less and the smiles were aplenty.
Among the many things this pandemic has taught me, one has stood out by far. My mental health is just as important as my physical health. And, for me, that means surrounding myself with people who lift me up. If that requires me to meet some of them at a quiet bar on a Friday night for a few White Claws, then that’s what I’m going to do.