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I know that everyone around the world feels differently about the whole Global Pandemic thing. "Live Free or Die" (I am looking at you New Hampshire). But in Vermont, we have taken the thing pretty seriously, done pretty well keeping out numbers fairly low, and in general showing care for those around us. And my family and I have been lucky, we have been able to severely limit our exposures by working from home - for a year. We have seen a few select close family and haven't eaten in a restaurant since early last March. All of this has been just as much out of concern that we could pass it on to someone as concern that we could get it ourselves, we have two twenty-somethings children with us, and we just wanted to do our very best for those around us. And now we are here.

We went out shopping yesterday. On a Saturday, where there were other people. A lot of them. I didn't see anyone who wasn't wearing a mask. And mostly being careful not to be too close. But, wow. I wasn't a big fan of crowds or other people before the pandemic. Now I feel like every "spidey sense" I have is on high alert! Danger! Danger Will Robinson!" We visited three shops, supported a lovely new wine shop and then happily left with a few new choices. You know what? We all felt a little overwhelmed, a little skittish, and were actually pretty tired out when it was over. I don't think we are alone, and I think that while some folks dismiss the pandemic, others take it seriously and may be left with a bit of trauma trying to reacclimatize to the world. So, I have a plan for me.

Here is my list for the next few weeks:

1. Go OUT once a week (at least). Not including the grocery store.

2. Find at least one stranger to speak to, a nice one, start with a shop assistant.

3. Treat yourself at the end of the outing. New jeans? (I need them!) A cup of coffee from my fave shop? YES!

4. Remember to be kind and gentle to yourself. Appreciate your work, tell yourself. "You did great today! You talked to that nice person, you stood in line, you are doing so well." And remind those around you.

5. Occasionally dream about how lovely it will be to sit in a crowded coffee shop, or go to a concert, or eat inside a restaurant, or travel. It will happen.

Happy Sunday all!

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