Are we ready for what’s next?

Woman looks outside wondering "What's next?"

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After two years, it seems that our days of dealing with lockdowns, masks, and vaccination passports are finally reaching an end.

As celebration-worthy as this is, it’s hard not to feel apprehensive. After all, we’ve seen restrictions lifted and reinstituted more times that we can count! It’s also hard not to be cynical and think politicians are making these decisions mainly to improve their chances at re-election. Many medical professionals have stated that it’s too early and that they’ll continue wearing masks in public for the next few months. I suspect others will do the same.

At the same time, transitioning to a new way of living won’t be without its challenges. It’s not as though we’re just going back to the way things were before.

Out of necessity, many of us changed the way we work, shop, and engage in other personal and professional activities. Quite a few people discovered that they like things better now and have permanently transitioned to a virtual business.

Others have realized they don’t miss certain social activities and don’t intend to resume them. I think the pandemic has helped us figure out what’s really important to us. Hazel Thornton discussed this last spring in her post, The door’s open. Where should I go?

When things started opening up late last year, I found it challenging to resume social activities, in more ways than one.

As an introvert, it was overwhelming to be around people after spending so much time at home. It was unsettling to be at indoor gatherings where masks weren’t required. It was also exhausting to fit in these “new” activities due to the many ways I found to fill my schedule during the pandemic.

I think I’m ready though, and am entering this next phase with cautious optimism.

One thing’s for sure: we’ve had lots of practice adapting to change over the past two years! Hopefully, that experience will serve us well in the coming months, no matter what happens.

Photo by halfpoint / DepositPhotos

Casual Photo of Janet Barclay

Janet Barclay

I eliminate stress for my clients by hosting, monitoring, and maintaining their WordPress sites so they don’t have to worry about security, downtime or performance issues. When I’m away from my desk, I enjoy reading, photography, cooking, watching movies, drinking tea, and spending time with my family.

Join the Conversation!


  1. Lisa Gessert on March 21, 2022 at 8:03 am

    Loved this Janet and it has been a huge discussion among my friends and family. Yes the door is open, what do i do now…great discussion.

    • Janet Barclay on March 21, 2022 at 12:40 pm

      Today is our first mask-free day here in Ontario. I’ve decided to carry a mask with me in case I have to share an elevator with someone, go into a crowded indoor space (which I tend to avoid anyway) or go to a business that still requires it. And of course, I’ll be watching the news for updates, which has been a daily routine for quite a while now.

  2. Diane N Quintana on March 21, 2022 at 8:26 am

    I just had this discussion with my son last night. He is now traveling for work and will have meetings with people who may be unmasked. His daughter has asthma. He’s concerned about bringing any sort of respiratory illness home so he’s considering his next steps – how to navigate these changes. It is an interesting and timely discussion.

    • Janet Barclay on March 21, 2022 at 12:42 pm

      That is a tricky situation. I hope your son finds a solution that will keep his daughter safe and that the people he meets with will respect his decision.

  3. Jonda Beattie on March 21, 2022 at 9:41 am

    This is a discussion that I have had many times. Along with most of us I am very tired of all the restrictions. My husband has multiple health issues and is fragile. I would hate to be responsible for bringing any illness into our home. I feel that each of us has to do what feels right for us and that we need to allow others to do the same.

  4. Seana Turner on March 21, 2022 at 10:02 am

    It is good to keep reminding ourselves that we adapted before and we can adapt again. It is pretty amazing, actually, how quickly we can habituate to a new routine. I think the pandemic gave introverts a chance to shine a bit, and/or perhaps just experience less pressure to “get out there.”

    I’m hopeful that we will hang to some of the “good things” that came out of this experience. I do believe there were some silver linings!

    • Janet Barclay on March 21, 2022 at 12:44 pm

      I think there were a lot of silver linings, though not everyone is open-minded enough to recognize them. That said, I’m eager to start living a fuller life again – even though I’m not quite comfortable with it yet.

  5. Sabrina Quairoli on March 21, 2022 at 11:10 am

    I feel the same way, Janet. I am a little apprehensive of the process and take precautions as I see fit. But, I do want to get moving again, mainly because I am an empty nester now and haven’t had the opportunity to enjoy all that phase of my life has to offer.

    • Janet Barclay on March 21, 2022 at 12:45 pm

      I look forward to reading about your new adventures, when the time comes.

  6. Linda Samuels on March 21, 2022 at 2:59 pm

    So many changes have happened over the past two years. I’m one of the people that pivoted my business to be completely virtual and I love it. It’s helped me align my days and create a better work/life balance.

    Like you, I’m cautiously optimistic. The Omicron BA.2 is surging and it will potentially influence some of our new freedom. But if we’ve learned nothing else, we’ve learned the art of being flexible. We plan and then adjust the plan as needed.

    • Janet Barclay on March 21, 2022 at 4:23 pm

      Flexibility is key! I suspect that those who think it’s all over are in for a rude awakening.

  7. Julie Bestry on March 21, 2022 at 4:10 pm

    Your comments now, after two years, somewhat dovetail with what I wrote at the start of the pandemic, about the “NOW Normal.” It’s not about adjusting to what’s changed and new, but adjusting over and over in a short period, as well as being unwilling to adjust.

    That said, I’m watching, agog, as requirements drop and people are running free. It reminds me of how people will start wearing their spring or summer clothes when the calendar dictates instead of waiting until the temperature has risen AND the forecast is for it to stay that way. I’m neither optimistic nor pessimistic at this point, but I find that people see my being realistic as being a killjoy. People WANT the pandemic to be over, and so they are acting as though it is, even though BA.2 is surging in the UK, Europe, South Korea, and elsewhere, and research shows we always follow just a few weeks behind. It may not be as bad as it was in July or December 2021, but I’m not changing out any of my precautions. To be honest, for those of us with comorbidities or disabilities, these new attitudes will just put us in more danger.

    I’m not taking off my mask when I leave the house, I’m not eating in restaurants or going anywhere in groups. You know I’m cheerful and extroverted, but I’m not ready to give in on safety to avoid people thinking I’m a Debbie Downer. I think I’m the mythological Cassandra in The Iliad, who prophetically spoke the future but was destined by Apollo’s curse not to be believed until it’s too late. Ah, well. Optimism is great, but I fervently hope caution takes the larger role.

    • Janet Barclay on March 21, 2022 at 4:27 pm

      Exactly. Just wishing for something doesn’t make it so. And I would rather be careful and have people scoff than to put myself or my husband at risk after being so careful for this long already.

  8. Julie Stobbe on March 21, 2022 at 8:01 pm

    I said to my husband last week that I needed to start thinking about things being normal again It is a mindset exercise for me. Focus on smiles instead of masks, think about travelling instead of travel restrictions, think about being in crowds and enjoying an event, think about being in noisy places, ok, so I liked it when it was quieter. Some things we are giving up that we learned to like, some things we are excited to have back and some things are new. Let the excitement begin.

    • Janet Barclay on March 22, 2022 at 12:49 pm

      “Let the excitement begin” covers it, doesn’t it? Whatever lies ahead will likely be both similar and different from what we’ve been living for the last two years and the way we lived before that.

      Interesting that you mention smiles – I remember the first time I wore a mask to the supermarket, before they were required. I was very happy to discover that the staff could tell I was smiling, even though my mouth was covered. I’ve kept that in mind throughout, making sure that the part of my face that showed was welcoming and not otherwise.

  9. Janet Schiesl on March 22, 2022 at 7:03 am

    I’m glad Spring is here and it’s getting warmer. I’m eager to reconnect with people but think I’ll be doing it outside. We are still wearing masks while working and I wear a mask when I run errands and am out in the public.
    During the pandemic, I decided that in-person networking meetings were something I wanted to give up. I looked at where our clients came from and very little came from networking and decided it wasn’t worth the time we put into the travel, meetings, and coffee meet-ups. I wonder if more people are deciding was worth their time, like I did, when deciding what to do next.

    • Janet Barclay on March 22, 2022 at 12:51 pm

      I wouldn’t be surprised if that’s the case. Someone I know told me about a friend she used to see quite often before the pandemic; they’ve barely been in touch and she’s found she didn’t miss them at all. I suspect she won’t be the one to initiate the next contact!

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