We may be coming out of hiding at this time but we may be finding out that we want to turn right around and crawl back in. It seems that as soon as we feel that there are enough safety checks around us, we're triple vaccinated with masks in place, we find ourselves now socially awkward. I have always had this lingering fear when placed in social situations. Of course this fear was conveniently eased when I imbibed in a drink or two, but I've long ago met with a moment of truth and have since tried not to adhere to too many other addictions.
While I no longer have those inept thirteen year old social skills causing me to be an absolute wallflower at a party, or that awkwardness of being a teenager walking into my first dance and not knowing what to do with a changing body and raging hormones, Still now, I fear being judged too severely. There were those predictions about how you would look and how you were going to grow up and also what you would become and your relevance in the world. As if that wasn't enough, you had the very real problem of trying to bond with your friends, not to mention trying to figure out how to impress, or even just who you were. It does make me have more compassion for being that age.
That lingering feeling can still be there, like when I recently went back out to my first big gathering with people I hadn't seen in ages. An old friend had passed away due to complications with COVID-19 and now months later we were finally able get together to honor his life. The celebration of life was filled with wonderful, colorful, and sometimes fairly off color stories and laughter mixed with a certain amount of profound sadness.
I saw people I hadn't seen in decades yet somehow everybody was still surprisingly the same only a little more mellow...with all the nuances of a fine vintage wine. The cleverness was there but with a sense of who they were in this world but how they related to it hadn't changed much, even with many trials and errors.
So the second time out and I am going to see quite a few relatives and am not quite sure about the rules...whether to hug or kiss, how much distance to keep, how much room to give, or will people think I'm being stand-offish, while all the while, trying to lasso my extremely analytical mind. I should also mention that I should be mindful to not get caught up in their extremely analytical minds, as it seems to be a family trait. First the hellos with the mask on and then our masks off because we understand that we had all been vaccinated and we had all tested ourselves just a few weeks before. None of us had really been out that much in public but we had all been to my nephew's beautiful wedding where everyone was double vaccinated and had been tested right before. So this venture for Thanksgiving Day, of being in a house, my brother and sister-in-law's house at that, was more of an emotional wild card than a healthcare related mine-field. We got through it all, and all of us played together nicely. Does any of this sound familiar? As I think about it... it should. The the very word familiar comes from the Latin word for family. Leaving my siblings house, I realized that we are truly social animals yet some of us still like to hide more than others. I very much enjoyed the laughter. I even enjoyed the kidding around and found that actually, as time goes by that my relatives are really quite a witty group and that we're all pretty amazing.
I found myself very grateful to be able to spend time with them. I guess they did too, because we decided to do it again only this time in a public setting in a restaurant that requires vaccination cards. It's important to support local businesses while also being in a safe environment. The luxury of being in a restaurant means that we are probably meeting for only about two hours which joyfully I've found (by trial and error), is just about what my perfect comfort level. So far-so good I think...and onward we go!