After two years of “in,” it’s hard to go “out”

I heard myself saying the word “Covid” too many times during the appointment, during what was supposed to be light small talk.

“… Oh, well, I haven’t since before Covid.”

“Well, with Covid, I haven’t …”

“… but not really since Covid.”

I don’t get out much. It’s true.

But it was actually a bit shocking to hear myself babble on about how many things I can’t do, won’t do, refuse to do, no longer do, would prefer not to do, once did but don’t do anymore. I couldn’t stop.

Sometimes I think my life hasn’t changed that much over the last two years, from a logistical point.

  • I have worked solely from home since 2010
  • I have always enjoyed indoor hobbies — writing, reading, sewing, painting, crafts, etc.
  • I have never really like being outside in the sun/wind/snow/rain
  • I have always disliked crowds and had a titch of agoraphobia
  • I have continued to do Zumba a few times a week (at home, or in person, or both)
  • I have always been happiest at home

But I used to do more. I know I did.

I would go to the movies. Go to restaurants. Swing by the mall to poke around Winners or Michael’s. Take the kids for ice cream or a round of bowling. Bring them to a park. Take painting classes or pottery classes or rug-hooking classes. Meet a friend for coffee/tea. Run into a shop downtown. Pop into the library to pick up books, or to stay for hours to write in my favourite “quiet room” where even breathing is too loud.

I have to really think hard, in this moment, trying to remember what I would do. My mind is running through the streets here in town, trying to picture myself going places that aren’t just dropping our daughter at the dance studio. It’s like trying to remember a hazy dream.

I certainly went to the fabric store a LOT (too much, some husbands might argue), and now I think I could count on one hand the number of times I’ve been there in the last two years. Sometimes I think of going, but I just … don’t. There are times when I think of suggesting a dinner-and-a-movie date with a friend, and I just … don’t.

I can’t say whether it’s genuinely the fear of Covid, or if it’s just that I don’t remember how to be a person who goes places easily.

Staying home always is what’s normal now, and it’s like settling into a warm bath. The idea of getting out, into the cold air, is not so appealing.

I know what I should do. (This mental health game is nothing new to me.) I know I should set a goal of going to X number of places per week, but the thought just … doesn’t appeal to me. Why would I go out, when I can stay home? It’s nice here. I have plenty of things I enjoy doing here. There are no strangers here, and definitely no crowds.

But … I already know what people will say. “Get out there!” “Do things!” “Force yourself!”

All around me, I see them. Bursting free from quarantines and hurrying back out into the world, eager to visit places and experience things again. They are bored of being stuck at home, even if it’s just been for a week or two. It fascinates me, as someone who has been quarantining, in a way, for almost two full years. And I know I’m not the only one.

Home is nice. Home is where my stuff lives, and where my computers are, and where there’s always a hot cup of tea available, and where there are three bathrooms that are not open to the public. There’s nothing wrong with enjoying the feeling of being at home.

But there are good things out there, too.

And I’ll get to them.


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