Coming Out of Hibernation

I don’t know about you, but I feel like I’ve just emerged from a 16-month hibernation.

When New York City shut down in March of last year, it was such a shock to have all of the hustle and bustle grind to a screeching halt. My daughter asked me how long I thought it would take before we were back to normal. I told her that the flu epidemic of 1918 lasted two years, so we should expect at least year and a half. But deep down, I really didn’t believe it would take that long.

Little by little, I abandoned old habits and adopted new ones. Early on, I stopped wearing my rings because I was washing my hands so much. When mask-wearing became mandatory, I stopped putting on makeup and lipstick. I abandoned earrings because they interfered with the headphones I was wearing for virtual organizing sessions and Zoom meetings. I got used to wearing jeans every day. (At least it wasn’t sweat pants.)

Because all of my outside activities had been canceled, I spent more time reading books, finishing 84 books in 2020 and 55 so far this year. I even found time to polish my fingernails regularly, which I hadn’t done in years because I never sat still long enough.

For me, the thaw began earlier this year when I became vaccinated. But the big change was when the CDC announced that masks were no longer necessary for vaccinated people, except where explicitly required (such as on the New York City subway and bus system, and in taxis). Our local stores relaxed their mask mandate, and then my apartment building did. I no longer needed a mask to step outside my apartment door! I felt so liberated.

While I had gotten used to wearing no makeup, I started doing a little just for fun. Now I’m back to my usual 2-minute makeup routine, but with milder lip color that won’t stain my mask when I take public transportation.

The jewelry issue was a little more complicated. I have had my ears pierced since college, but I had never gone a year without wearing earrings. My right ear was fine, but my left ear was just not cooperating. I wasn’t ready to give up earrings permanently. I have very short hair, and earrings coordinated with my outfit are part of  “my look”. It took some daily effort to get back to where I was, but now I’m able to wear any earrings I own. However, when I try on some of the more elaborate earrings, they no longer seem like my style. I may end up donating some of them.

My ring situation was even more complicated than my stubborn left earlobe. When I put on my wedding ring, it was too big, maybe because of the weight I lost during the pandemic due to my healthy eating program. I have had it resized and am wearing it again, if I can remember. Sometimes I leave the house without it because I’m still not used to having it on.

As for wearing jeans — well, that habit is here to stay. I also want to continue my reading habit.

I’m still contemplating how busy I want to become as things reopen. I enjoyed the less hectic lifestyle that was forced upon me during the shutdown. I need to keep an eye on my calendar to ensure that it doesn’t get overly full.

Interestingly, I’ve left the house several times recently without a mask even though I am going somewhere where I know I’ll need one. I guess I was ready to ditch that habit!

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