Checking email for the umpteenth time today I still haven’t received a notification people my age group are talking about. You know, the email that communicates the following: “You have been selected to receive the vaccine, please show up...” While patience is a core competency for me, I do believe getting that email and moreover, getting the vaccine, will provide a sense of relief.

As I write, Minnesota has passed the one-year anniversary of the shut-down, and post-pandemic life is inching closer. Here are some experiences I anticipate will make me smile as post-pandemic becomes a reality.

Working facial identification

I recall many times when I needed to open my phone or an app inside a business and realized it wouldn’t open because I was wearing a protective facial covering. In the absence of the ability to recognize my face, the technology would ask for a password, and, in most cases, I could not recall my password, so, I had to either duck outside the place of business and take off the mask, or cheat and hide as I removed the mask from one ear so facial identification software could open the phone or app.

From enabling FaceID to getting out of the car and almost to the front door of a business without a mask in hand, I admit there were a few mask-wearing mental lapses during the last 12 months. My thanks to the grace of all front-line workers who enforced the mask-wearing rules to keep us all safe.

This leads to another experience I know will bring a smile to my face post pandemic and that is to ditch the mask. Going anywhere sans mask is high on my post-pandemic list. Plus, I’ll see those smiles from the people I meet along the way.

Unlike those in the medical community, I won’t need to wear a mask every day post pandemic. My gratitude to health care providers who relentlessly educated the public about infectious diseases and the importance of wearing a face covering to keep people safe from the coronavirus.

Eating out, inside

Not every day is warm enough, or dry enough, for patio seating. We are fortunate that many local restaurants adapted outdoor seating with fire tables and propane heaters; and provided many take-out options for eating at home. But, when I eat out, inside a local restaurant, everything is tastier, the food is hotter, and clean-up is a breeze.

Thank you, restaurant workers, for your commitment to make the food experiences I had during the pandemic, safe. I was giddy last Saturday when it was 57 degrees and I had lunch outside on a patio. I’m truly looking forward to dining inside. Seeing people in person. From church and family gatherings on Zoom, to work meetings on Microsoft Teams, it will be great to get back to in-person gatherings.

I’m fortunate to be a witness to the creativity of people as we have gathered through meetings, events, services, family night, etc., during the pandemic. My five sisters and I live in five different states and thanks to Zoom, (a program I had never heard of prior to March 2020), I’ve attended more 40-minute happy hours the last 52 weeks with them than I had my previous 58 years.

Post pandemic many of these experiences may return to “normal” in-person gatherings, however, for my family that has always been geographically challenged for frequent in-person experiences, a virtual, in-person connection online each week is a gift.

Hugs

While there is research-based science regarding the practice of receiving hugs that reduces stress and protects human beings against illness, the pandemic tempered that experience between friends and family. Post pandemic I will happily trade my life-saving mask for a few stress-reducing, life-saving hugs.

And you? As the world opens up like a flower in spring, what post-pandemic experiences are you most excited to return to in 2021?

Jessica Lamker is a 23-year resident of Savage and a Community Voices columnist.

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