I started feeling this in the past few weeks, this feeling like I am sliding downhill sideways. It’s awkward, uncomfortable, out of control and somewhat scary. I think that best describes re-entry into “back to normal”. Is this hard resistance on my part? Is this the feeling like too much is happening too soon and I don’t feel prepared? I sit with this. Many long hours have I spent this past year on my sun porch looking out into the garden. This pandemic has changed me. It has likely changed many of us in a way that “going back” makes impossible. Why do we say “going back to school”? Why don’t we say “going forward to school” or simply “resuming school”? Just as we are are “resuming daily life” not “going back to normal”. Was that “normal”? Was the life we had pre-pandemic normal only because it was what we knew? I sit with all of this too. I have learned that my life these days is one that is simpler, quieter, and less hectic which means a slower pace. Remember the Year of the Rat 2020 got us off the Rat Race? I get anxiety just looking at movies where there are big crowds and people are too close. Could I feel safe and comfortable at a festival or a concert or a large party? Could I handle all the energy, noise, and stimulation of being around a crowd of people again? I sit with this. I hesitate in my finding an answer. I hesitate as I feel myself sliding downhill sideways and remind myself I can change this. I can give myself permission to not let outside influences dictate the speed at which I resume post-pandemic life when this pandemic is finally gone. I get to choose this time how I am driving down the highway of life. Maybe, for a while, I can choose the slow lane, exit off for a scenic drive sometimes, and pullover at a rest stop when I’m needing to. I sit with this realization and feel content knowing the power I have given myself by simply deciding to hold onto this simpler life a little bit longer.