The end — at long, long last — is near.
Despite concerns about new coronavirus variants, experts predict that vaccines can still get us to herd immunity, and President Joe Biden has announced that all Americans will be eligible for vaccination by the first of May. Some version of normalcy will be restored to us by summertime, and that should be a thrilling prospect — but for many of us, our anticipation and joy is muddled with anxiety and fear. The New York Times reports that about half of all people recently surveyed by the American Psychological Association said they’re worried about resuming in-person interaction.
For one thing, over half a million Americans have died from COVID-19, and countless more are experiencing long-term symptoms of the disease. It’s going to take a long time to grieve the individual and collective losses we’ve all experienced.
For another, global shutdowns revealed the many ways in which the old “normal” was unnecessary, harsh, and exploitative. Millions of office workers have had to spend the past year working from home, and while that posed its own set of problems, especially for parents, it also revealed that most businesses don’t need an in-person workforce to thrive, and that a more flexible work schedule could benefit the vast majority of employees. The prospect of returning to grueling commutes and long days at the office is a reason enough to feel stressed out by the imminent end of the pandemic.
After such a long stretch of worrying daily about ourselves and our loved ones, of feeling financially, emotionally, and physically drained, it can be daunting to imagine skipping happily back to casual hangouts and busy social lives. The pressure to enjoy it all might even end up making that cognitive dissonance worse.
We want to know how you and your family are preparing for a post-pandemic summer — your hopes, your fears, and how this extraordinary time has changed your vision for the future. To participate, please submit your responses on this form and you may be quoted in an upcoming BuzzFeed News story.