Fern forest

Years ago, in the Way Before Times, A (not her real initial) noted that half the joy of a vacation is the planning:  the looking forward.  There are guidebooks to peruse and reviews to read and itineraries to plan.  There is the anticipation of future joy–the allure of a dangling carrot giving focus to one’s day– and the excitement of counting down to something special.

Something I eventually identified as being a large part of my personal  quarantine fatigue was the realization that in lockdown, you have nothing to look forward to:  no trips, no dinners with friends, no shows or concerts or sporting events.  It’s not simply that you have nowhere to go, nothing to do, and no one to see, but the sobering fact that you have no plans to make and nothing definite to look forward to.

One of the joys of receiving the first dose of the Pfizer COVID vaccine last month was the excitement of having a momentous day to circle on the calendar:  a truly red letter day.  Once you’ve had your first dose, you can count down to your second, and one you’ve had your second, you can count down to that magical day two weeks later when you officially join the ranks of the Fully Vaccinated.

Last week J and I celebrated what we called our Immunity Day with lunch inside an actual restaurant, and this week, the planning for the After Times begins.  

Today I’ll meet a friend for an afternoon walk followed by cocktails and dinner; in a few weeks, I’ll meet another friend for a woodsy walk somewhere in central Massachusetts.  J and I are planning to walk to lunch tomorrow, and in a few weeks, we’re planning to go to the Museum of Fine Arts.  In June, I’ll visit my Mom in Ohio, and plans are currently underway for an afternoon meetup with a handful of my high school friends while I’m in town:  a flurry of social events that would have seemed impossible only a few months ago.