It’s Anticipation. It’s Dread. It’s Dreadticipation.


Of course, the pandemic had to end sooner or later.

I was kind of counting on later.

Not that I’m enjoying this, mind you. It’s just that I thought things would start back up again gradually, bit by bit, following a schedule like Michigan’s “MI Vacc to Normal” plan.

And I would be able to ease myself back into life. A few more things this week, a few more things next week…. Time to think and plan. To figure things out.

But this past week, the CDC kind of pulled the rug out from under us. “Fully vaccinated people no longer need to wear a mask or physically distance in any setting.” Yay, right?

Yes. And no.

I’ve been anticipating this time. And dreading it. Dreadticipation.

Dreading because the floodgates seem to be opening. Instead of a week-by week easing, it’s feeling more like this Eclipse gum ad.

And I’m not sure how much of “normal” I want to go back to. Are you feeling this too?

Let’s face it: the pandemic gave us a pretty convenient excuse to opt out of a lot of things. So how do we redefine “normal” when we have to throw our convenient excuse away with our masks?

How many of us will rethink our priorities and then make the hard choices and create the strong boundaries to ensure that our “next normal” is a better version of our “old normal”?

Well here’s the good news. Right now is the perfect time to think about the new habits we want to keep and the parts of prepandemic life we want to change. To be conscientious about what we do. As the song says, “it’s a new dawn, it’s a new day….” We’re primed for what Wharton School professor Katy Milkman calls the “fresh start effect.” (You can learn more in her new book How to Change.)

But as this article in The New York Times warns, the pages of this new chapter will turn quickly.

The Times is offering a 10-day Fresh Start Challenge starting Monday, May 17. They’ll send one or two messages each weekday for the next 2 weeks (with a break over the weekend) to “prompt moments of mindful reflection, build stronger connections, and take small steps toward building healthy new habits.”

To sign up, text “Hi” to (917) 809-4995 for a link to join. Or bookmark this page and check back each day.

This seems like a great opportunity to rethink what life looks like going forward. I’ll consider it a success if I end up feeling a little less dread and a little more anticipation.


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