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Acting Normal in a Reopening World

By Ardith Bowman August 06, 2021 Lifestyle

It seems social activities are opening back up to varying degrees depending on where you live. For me here in Oregon, there are opportunities to gather, attend live events and shop without masks, at least at the moment.

As I begin to be more active, I realize that my life balance – relationships, health, contribution, and time freedom – have been out of balance. I focused on activities that I could do alone – fitness and contribution. Last week, I decided just to stop and enjoy a few days of being in touch with what I want in this new freedom of options. After all, living on purpose is living in balance.

It became clear that the domain of life I am rebuilding is relationships – and noticing what risks I am willing to take.

It’s All About Relationships

Isolation has been one of challenges for many over the last 18 months. I thought I was doing great with all of my Zoom gatherings and one on one outside walks with friends.

Then in June my paddling team was cleared to start practicing on the water. The emotion of being together again was overwhelming… and will never be forgotten. Here is an intriguing observation: once on the boat, we were in sync beyond many of our practices prior to the pandemic. Love and gratitude brought us together in a way that all our practices could not.

My two book groups met in person… The thrill of sharing food again felt almost mischievous. I even brought books to share. My heart was full with sensing and seeing the nuances of our communication.

Let us all relish and appreciate the beauty of in person connections. There is power and healing that I now honor more than ever before.

Loving People While Managing the Crowd

My first outing among a crowd of people I did not know was an outdoor jazz festival. What a relief to see all the diversity of our community intact! I relished the crazy outfits and tinted hair among us. That, of course, was at a distance.

Standing in line for food was a different story. There were few masks and no distancing. I was shocked at the panic I felt. I left the line and chose not to eat. So, even with appreciating others, there is only so much closeness I can tolerate right now. Looking back on it, I think both fear of virus transmission and just not being used to crowded conditions played a part. Have you been in a crowd yet?

My other experience was going to an indoor play. All attendees were vaccinated, and it was at 50% capacity. My friends and I were a mix. I chose to wear my mask since we were indoors. Others did not. Would you? The play was fun and intelligent… and it was so good to support and experience the arts again.


Finally, let’s talk about the dating scene. The first question seems to be, “Are you vaccinated?” Would you meet someone if they were not? Personally, I do… and I ask about their reasoning for not being vaccinated. To be honest, it does influence my attraction. Then, for someone where we hit it off, the hug at the end of meeting is awkward, to say the least.

I wish to discover what it will be like to continue developing a relationship with someone beyond the first couple of meetings. My guess is that attraction impacts the amount of risk we are willing to take. Isn’t it strange to even have to consider risk this early in a relationship?

What activities are you resuming? What are you noticing as we return to activities with a refreshed perspective? Is there rebalancing going on in your life?

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The Author

Dr. Ardith Bowman is a woman-centered coach, advancing the positive aging movement. Her mission is to empower women aged 60 and beyond to live with fulfillment throughout life. She will walk beside you, providing unwavering support and guidance as you navigate your path into more fulfillment and vitality. Find her at Becoming You After 60.

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