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Out In The World

A couple of weeks ago, I caught a cold. I rarely get sick, so of course I thought at first that it was Covid. The test was negative, though, and my symptoms were all just cold-like for the next week or so. What I finally realized is that I had been going out in the world more—after a couple of years of the weird isolation we’ve all been in—and I was much more susceptible to getting sick than I’d been in years. Even with masks, returning to somewhat normal lives continues to be strange. Some of us still feel anxious, and not just about getting sick. I have grown accustomed to a quieter life now, one that doesn't involve a lot of socializing. But the world is out there, and we miss being part of it.

So we're adjusting incrementally now, as we strive for normalcy. People I know who are working are getting used to going back to offices and to spending their days much more in public than they’ve been for the last two years. How we work has also changed, for all of us. Working from home, we learned our own rhythms, including when we’re most productive, when a meeting could really be an email, and when we need a break. Traditional work schedules and office cultures don’t often let us calibrate our days so that they best fit our styles. Instead, we're trying to fit ourselves back into these external structures that we outgrew during the pandemic.

I’m taking a break from writing this blog. I’ll be back to it later in the summer—I hope with some new insights into myself and into the world as it is these days.

There are other ways that we’re adjusting to this new, changed world, too. Jodi and I are heading out on a big vacation for the first time in a few years. We were lucky during the pandemic to have a couple of smaller adventures, but this summer we’re celebrating lots of milestones with a long-awaited trip—our 20-year anniversary, my 70th birthday, and Jodi’s 60th. We’ll be traveling some by ourselves and some with friends. But we both know how much the world has changed since we last took a trip to another continent. There has been the pandemic, the war in Ukraine, massive social and economic problems in our own country, and even changes we feel in ourselves.

We’re both creating our next iterations—finding our paths in retirement and still wanting to engage with the communities and ideas and friends we’ve been part of forever. We’re kind of learning to be old and striving to stay young all at the same time. It’s an adventure in itself, both fun and scary simultaneously. I’ve been amazingly blessed in my life to be able to travel, and I feel even more grateful to still be able and ready and excited. I think we both see this trip as a symbol of getting back out into the world and meeting it, and ourselves, where we are.

I’m also using it as a chance to practice being where I am, with little or no agenda. We have a few reservations and plans here and there, but for the most part, we’re going to be adventurers, paying attention to what’s right in front of us. It’s what I’m practicing in my regular, day-to-day life, so I’m thinking this will be good practice. I’m learning to get off the treadmill, look up and around, and engage in what’s there.

As part of that, I’m taking a break from writing this blog. I’ll be back to it later in the summer—I hope with some new insights into myself and into the world as it is these days. The last two years have been so filled with change and movement, quiet, questions and reflection that I’m looking forward to just letting my head rest and re-set. As always, I’m so, so grateful to those of you who read this. It’s such a connection for me. My hope, of course, is that we’ll reconnect soon, feeling richer and more rested, and ready for more of what's out there.


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