For those of us who are newly vaccinated, I’m curious to know how you feel now that we are returning to physical interaction.
I’m in an unprecedented emotional state, new to my mental health repertoire. Like a high school senior about to graduate — filled to the brim with naive excitement for the plentiful pleasures of adult life. A ‘let me loose on the world so I can make my mark,’ fairy dusted, dewy-eyed wonder at the freedom.
I never had the experience of crossing the threshold from being your parent’s child to adult(ish) autonomy. The one so cleanly distilled in the act of leaving home for college. I left high school early for professional reasons and the transition felt unceremonious and disappointing. I went from point A to point B perfectly intact, no traces of morning dew on my skin or in my eyes. A conviction crystalized that remains with me: absent the ritual rites of adulthood — graduation and marriage — one’s status remains undefined; a soft focused wilderness between childhood and self-actualization.
As a model hopping from the saddest neighborhood of one fashion capital to another, I did not graduate with my peers. I saw myself as an overgrown adolescent. Such a literal perspective was typical of my 18 year old way of understanding the world, and yet here I am starting mid-adulthood with the same conceptual framework. As we border cross from home to shared space, I welcome the rush of feeling I imagine accompanies a walk across the stage or down an aisle. From dark to light; toil to reward; yearning to satiation.
It’s my first Spring in Philadelphia. All these cherry blossoms.
Floating across the sidewalks of Fairmount, it’s occurred to me that maybe the large, invisible forces that determine how the wind blows are bestowing these feelings of uncomplicated faith in what lies ahead at 40, a couple decades late. I accept them greedily, rejoicingly.
My hope that we will return to one another changed is enormous. I want more vulnerability and honesty in our relationships, both casual and intimate. I hope we’ll possess the wisdom and ease of spirit to express our affection for one another in superlatives. I hope that we’ll face the emotional pain ahead as a human family.
No longer the distant, solitary planets we were, unified by the common experience of loss, sharing the weight of burdens too heavy to carry alone.
If that sounds like childlike optimism, that’s because it is. It comes with ritual crossing.