Stepping into society

After more than a year of various COVID19 restrictions, including fairly strict lockdown measures for the last three months, we are starting to “open up” again here in Scotland. And this time around, I am hoping to step into society a bit more. Baby steps, that is!

As a high-risk individual on the shielding list, I have spent the last year relatively isolated. I’ve been working from home and have all of my groceries and other “essentials” (and non-essentials, at times) delivered to me. I have avoided people and crowded spaces, with the exception of a few socially distanced walks last summer. Yes, I have pretty much avoided The Real World since last March, with the exception of doctors’ appointments and getting vaccines.

But things are getting better now, and it’s time I start thinking about re-joining society. I don’t feel 100% safe out in The Real World, but I also know that I will have to start participating in it eventually. And now seems like a good time to take some cautious steps. After all, I have had my first dose of the COVID19 vaccine, as have more than half of Scotland’s adult population. And I should have my second dose soon.

On Friday, Scotland’s lockdown measures lifted to allow people to travel to other council areas for outdoor exercise and (small) gatherings with others. So, when a friend suggested meeting up yesterday, I happily agreed to a short walk.

It was nice walking with someone for a change, as I’ve not done that since last year. But because things are improving so much (and I have been vaccinated) the decision was made to walk into the village where we could buy sandwiches at the local shop before heading into the woods for a wee walk (and a geocache!).

Going into a shop is a rare treat for me these days. I have been to the hospital twice for kidney check-ups and nipped into the in-hospital shop when I was there. And I went into the post office shop in the village twice in the last few weeks – once after my COVID19 vaccination and again to send something to one of my sisters in America. So, much like those visits, this visit was a little overstimulating.

Yes, going into a small local shop is an overstimulating treat for me these days! I am no longer used to being able to select groceries in real-time, and that tends to lead to a bit of impulse buying – which means I got a pack of crisps for my lunch, too. (I regretted the salt-hit half-way through the snack.)

I know that I have to be cautious and COVID19 safe, but I am pleased to say that I feel a little more confident about re-joining society right now. I don’t think I’ll be ready for a crowded shop in a city centre, but I do feel safe in my rural village shop. And that means that I will have to make more regular visits over the next few weeks.

My intention is to enjoy little visits to the village every couple of weeks right now. Then, when I can see that things are continuing to improve, I can go to the shop more regularly. And, eventually, maybe I will feel ready to go to the beer garden or an outdoor café. And then, one day, maybe I will make it into a full grocery store.

I will likely be very cautious for quite some time, but I am feeling more hopeful right now. In fact, I am feeling quite hopeful that I might be able to do some local travelling soon. And I am hopeful that I might manage to get home to America to visit my parents this calendar year. Yes, hopeful is a good feeling, indeed!

Anyhow, I don’t know if I will step much further into society than the village shop anytime soon. But at least I am thinking about it. And that is a positive sign!

Of course, this also means that I will finally have to buy masks! I only have two of them at the moment: One (as pictured) that a friend bought me and one that my eldest sister made. For now, that’s been enough. In fact, I have only needed a mask 10 times in the last year. But if I am to re-join society this summer, I will need more of them. A price I am happy to pay!

I hope that you, Dear Reader, are staying safe and are negotiating The Real World as best as you can.

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