Adjusting to a new normal can be difficult, both physically and mentally. It’s been almost a year since the COVID-19 pandemic began. It’s easy to become frustrated and lose focus when it comes to safety measures and quarantining.
This year the holidays were quiet. There were no parties, dinners, charity events or speeches, although I did have the occasional cocktail in the house. This was the first holiday I did not spend in New York with my family. Generally, the holidays are an emotional time for anybody. When you throw months of challenges and a pandemic into the mix, it becomes overwhelming. After all, we are all social creatures and creatures of habit.
Friends and Letting Your Guard Down
I admit that over the past few months, I let my guard down a bit. Normally, my friends fly down to Florida from New York to visit over the holidays. This year, only a few of my friends made the trip. I met up with them outside, keeping six feet apart while wearing my face mask and face shield. My friends understood my situation with COVID-19 and even offered to meet up in an empty parking lot or at the beach.
For the first time in months, I felt like a normal person again because I interacted with people I knew. It was such a great feeling. I felt bad that I had no new stories to tell or experiences to share over the past six months. My big experience has been when I take my Edge 3 Electric Wheelchair out for a stroll or I go fishing along the river. Meanwhile, my friends were going out to eat at restaurants and spending time together and doing activities. They kept telling me to come to dinner with them and hang out while they were down for the week. They took risks that I was uncomfortable with. My friends say they understood my situation and they did. When it came to themselves, however, they let their guard down. They were experiencing life and while doing so, they put themselves at risk.
Feeling Left Out
At that moment, I realized how small my world had become over the past year. When I left my friends and went back to the house, I saw some of the pictures posted on social media of all my friends at dinner and doing fun activities. I felt sad missing out. My mind started playing tricks on me. I thought that if my friends could go to dinner without catching COVID, I can have dinner with them in public too!
Mentally, I started to let my guard down. A few days after my friends returned to New York, one of them called me and said two of my friends had tested positive for COVID. I realized my mental strength and strong judgement saved me. It finally made sense. My world was small for a reason: my safety and health. Thankfully, I dodged a bullet. Both of my friends have recovered from COVID and are doing good.
As power wheelchair users, we cannot let our guard down and take a chance because of our compromised health issues. We need to maintain our mental clarity so we can stay safe for years to come.
About Josh McDermott: Josh uses an electric wheelchair for mobility, serving as a brand ambassador for Quantum Rehab®. He is a public speaker and has served as a goodwill ambassador for the Muscular Dystrophy Association. Josh lives in New York and loves to travel. Click here to learn more about Josh.