out of office ending.

The vaccines are rolling out. Restrictions are easing everywhere. The government seems to be like a cool parent right now testing the bounds of our ability to do the right thing when faced with potentially troublesome situations. Are you going to keep vigilant with mask-wearing even after you are fully vaccinated? We shall see.

Shots. Shots. Shots, shots, shots. . .

Even I’m a bit guilty of pushing the boundaries after a year of faithfully following the rules and obeying every guideline. It was my mom’s 77th birthday last week. I’ve let many big birthdays pass without making an effort to see her. However, since this would be mom’s first birthday in over fifty years without my father by her side, I decided to take the train to NJ and see her at my sister’s house.

Everyone eligible in my family has had at least their first shot now, my mother included. I have had both, and the day I saw my mother it had been over a week since I got the second jab in my arm. Not technically the full 2-3 week incubation period for full vaccine protection, but pretty damn close. Regardless, we sat at my sister’s kitchen table maskless. I shared a bottle of wine with my mom and a cannabis vape pen with my nephew who is not at all vaccinated.

It was living dangerously.

My business is reopening soon. There is a lot to do to prepare for that especially since we are readying for a spring/summer season that is closer to normal than not. We have an outdoor rooftop bar as well as a street café and a large indoor multi-level venue and last year we missed every month of our “season” because of COVID. Recently, the State of New York has ever so graciously permitted bars and restaurants 50% capacity. The warmer months are a booming time for us and it seems that the general public is ready to return to those days of crowded mayhem despite the CDC’s weak admonishments about gatherings. Fifty percent isn’t enough, but it will have to do for now.

We have a lot to accomplish before swinging those doors open including: hiring on new staff, checking all of the equipment that been dormant for months, getting inventory, planning menus, fixing broken things, cleaning everything, etc. There’s a lot I could be doing. And I don’t want to do any of it.

“Picked all my weeds and kept the flowers…” – Kelly Clarkson, “Sober”

I miss early quarantine because of that.

I don’t miss the fear and worry – when our knowledge of this virus was still early and speculative. I was afraid to breathe near my apartment door because I heard my next door neighbor coughing for two weeks straight and knew she must have had it. I watched the news nonstop and had Zoom calls with my college friends comparing information we had gathered about this terrifying illness. I miss none of that.

What I do miss is the free pass we all gave each other to not do anything if we didn’t feel like it. The country (for the most part) completely shut down. Business and travel halted. Bills went unpaid, plans were cancelled without awkward apologies. And for a little while, we were all allowed to not do anything at all. Some people complained about it – saying it was boring. But, once I got a handle on my anxiety about the future, my shoulders finally dropped and I felt really free for once in a long time.

Today I woke up without any specific things on my to do list and I felt that pang in my stomach. That pressure to be productive. For years, I have been a workaholic and happily so. But, ever since the pandemic and quarantine times, I have learned to enjoy the not doing of things. The idleness. The slowness and, yeah, even the boredom.

Learning how to roller skate in an empty bar.

I don’t know if I have it in me to jump back into the fires of hyper productivity and 15-hour work days. I do know that my bank account is in desperate need of a lot more pluses and way fewer minuses. So, I don’t have a choice but to take the leap. But, man, I’m going to miss the lightness in my soul from the days when we all gave each other permission to do nothing without judgment. I hope to be back there someday. Back to a place where every day belongs to me and my time is mine to do with as I please.

Next time, I’ll take it without the global pandemic and economic disaster.