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How’s it going out there in the unmasked world? For us, my teens said “it’s fine” but the big changes aren’t necessarily the masks, but the absence of some of the COVID protocols that they are really noticing — like they don’t need to sit at the same lunch tables or same bus seats. The little kids can co-mingle on the playground. When contact tracing is no longer a concern, it’s easier to relax restrictions. A sense of normalcy is creeping back — for better or for worse.

Before we get too deep into the return to the old normal, I’m trying to pause to consider what parts I do not wish to return to. It’s hard — we fall back into the patterns and the muscle memory of what worked for so long. But thinking back to what didn’t work, how can we improve?

Our family is traveling for spring break — we plan to wear masks on the plane. Is that what the new normal looks like? What about wearing a mask when you have a cold? Or anytime you’re around a vulnerable population, like in the waiting room at the doctor? The first time we all put masks on and went out the world was so weird — but now, it’s the new normal. Will it continue to be a tool we use when necessary?

It seems that the jury is out. Friday I went to the Christiana Mall and I was surprised at how many folks were still wearing their masks. I wasn’t; my stay was limited to a pick-up at the Apple Store and food court stop for an iced tea. Some masked and some not feels right, and it’s no one’s business why anyone chooses either path, and no one should shame another person for their choice. THE END. No sudden moves and maybe this time we’ll be okay.

Will COVID continue to mutate and re-emerge? Only time will tell. I’m keeping my masks handy just in case.

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