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I’ve always known I’m not a normal person. I run on the wild, strange side, and I’ve never shied away from it. My family would also agree I’ve been one of strange ones. My reasoning has always been that God made me this way, so why run away from it?

I didn’t think I’d see the day when normal sounded good. As more of my friends and family are getting vaccinated, life is slowly going back to the way life was, pre-pandemic.

On my birthday, we were able to go to a restaurant to celebrate that night, and a friend was with us. We sat outside, but we were able to do it. I was able to go to my parents’ house that weekend and give my mom and dad a hug for the first time in over a year. We were able to smile at my niece again. Last night, we had a friend over because it was Friday and we just hung out, had dinner, drank wine, and talked. She didn’t leave until after midnight, which is a partial explanation for why this post isn’t out at 7 am on Saturday morning. Today, we’re going back to the gym for the first time in over a year. We’ll still wear masks there, but I feel more comfortable going.

We’re going back to normal, and I love it.

Now, please don’t think I’m throwing all caution to the wind. When shopping, I still wear a mask. I wear a mask at work and at church, the one week a month I go. All other weeks we do the live stream. When we do go to church, we go to the outdoor service and sit away from everyone else. At restaurants, we wear our masks until our food gets to our table, only briefly taking them off to take sips of our drinks. The only exception is when we’re outside on a patio and we’re the only people out there, which has actually happened almost every time we go somewhere.

We’re taking baby steps, but after this year, every step feels like a leap, and it’s a leap I love to take.

Some things haven’t been able to come back yet. The bookstore and café where my writing group would meet has removed all tables and chairs, so we haven’t been able to meet there yet. I’m looking forward to the day the Community Room in the store is open again. I worked better in that room than at my desk in my own home.

I look forward to going to shows again. I’ve missed live music and while some venues are opening up, the bands we want to see aren’t touring, partly because most of them are in Europe and can’t get over here. I know it’ll come back, though. We’ll be able to go see our favorites again and sing along some day, I know, but I wish it would be sooner rather than later.

But normal will come back again, and I’m ready for it.

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