The Big Return by Elsie Ramsey

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 am living in an unprecedented emotional state, new to my mental health repertoire. It is as if I am a high school senior about to graduate — filled to the brim with naive excitement for the plentiful pleasures of adult life. “Let me loose on the world so I can make my mark!” describes the sentiment well.

I never had the experience of crossing the threshold from being your parent’s child to adult(ish) autonomy that we see so perfectly distilled in the act of leaving home for college. I left high school early for professional reasons and the transition felt unceremonious and disappointing. For this reason, I became convinced that only through the rituals of graduation and moving could one experience the (sacred) gravity of beginning adulthood. The shift in identity depended on an academic transition. Such a literal perspective was typical of my 17 year old way of understanding the world, and yet here I am, starting mid-adulthood with the same premise lingering in the shadowy areas of my consciousness.

As I enjoy my first Spring in Philadelphia, you can find me walking down the street with an unprovoked grin and bounce in my step. It has occurred to me that maybe the large, invisible forces that determine how the wind blows, are giving me that sensation of childlike optimism for what lies ahead, along with the deep pride of finishing something long and difficult. At the age of 40, I welcome it.

I’ve written extensively about my hope that we will return to one another changed in profound ways.

I hoped for more vulnerability and honesty in our relationships, both casual and intimate.

I hoped we would possess the wisdom and ease of spirit to express our affection for one another in diverse ways.

Most of all, I hoped that we would face the emotional pain that is coming for us all as we rebuild through the coming years as a human family.

No longer distant, solitary planets as we have been in lockdown, but unified through our common experience of pain, eager to walk alongside one another, sharing the weight of burdens too heavy to carry alone.

The time has finally come when I will find out if it happens.

New Yorker, Government Relations Professional, Photographer, Bibliophile

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Elsie Ramsey

New Yorker, Government Relations Professional, Photographer, Bibliophile