A lifetime ago, when my anxiety took over my life, and I spent most of my time hurting and hurting the ones I loved, I convinced myself I could survive alone. I even wondered if I, and all the people I loved, would be better off if I somehow went off on my own and started a new life away from them.

If there is one thing this pandemic has taught me, I am not meant to be alone. I NEED human interaction like we need air and water. It’s been a beautiful, painful realization.  

 For almost three months, here in Michigan, we were under stay home orders, which my family, friends, and I followed very closely. We would drop off supplies to each other and have video chats, but that was it. It was awful, but at least there were some decent weather days in which I could get out, walk my dog, and see the sun. I’d wave at neighbors, and they would wave back, even if we all went to lengths to physically avoid each other.

By Memorial Day, some of our restrictions were lifted, and the weather was nice, so it was easy to meet up with people outdoors. I kept my Covid bubble small, but it was amazing to see people after months of only video chat. It breathed life back into me. 

This winter is already difficult. My family and I are not seeing each other much for the sake of safety. I had not seen my friends in person since Election night. We had gathered for moral support to find out if the world was ending or if it was safe to have hope for the future.

The last few weeks, I’ve been sinking. It’s been quite a struggle to maintain a positive attitude. The video chats that were happening at the beginning of covid have fallen off. No more outdoor hangs because Michigan is freaking cold. I hardly walk because, again, cold. 

This weekend, while I had suggested we cancel, my little group of amazing friends, my covid bubble, got together to celebrate, as safely as possible, my 40th birthday.  I love these women with my whole heart. They went above and beyond, renting a house, wearing masks, having an ample supply of hand sanitizer available so that we could get together for a little while. 

By Saturday morning, my soul was refreshed. The funk is gone, and I am refilled, ready to help boost others again. I know we have many long months ahead. Vaccines are about to roll out here in the US but it will take time before they put a dent in the pandemic. Michigan will have at least three more months of cold and generally depressing weather. 

For now, though, I can smile and appreciate that I am not meant to live in isolation. I am meant to spend time with the people I love. When all of this is over, I can’t wait to see the rest of the people I love, the ones not in my covid bubble. I can’t wait to make plans, to eat at restaurants, to walk in parks, to go on adventures. I also will be a hugging machine, so I hope people are ready.

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