This past July, my husband and I celebrated our 30th wedding anniversary by taking a week-long cruise from New York City to Bermuda. While that would hardly be cause for concern in a pre-COVID world, contemplating such a trip in today’s world felt like we were engaging in “risky” behavior.
It required navigating busy airports; crowded plane flights; close-quarter taxi and Uber rides; lines to get onboard the ship and, yes, thousands of fellow passengers mingling with us in restaurants, elevators, nightclubs and activities for an entire week. Hardly a mask was in sight, aside from the ship’s crew and staff wearing them.
Despite the jitters beforehand, we quickly adapted to vacation mode and the “don’t worry, be happy” mantra of cruising. We enjoyed a wonderful, much-needed getaway — not just for the relaxation and beautiful sights, but also for the utter normalcy of being around people again. The sheer joy of that normalcy felt more contagious at times than COVID.
People seemed more than ready to forget the past two years (and the masks) and savor the here-and-now. We saw large groups traveling together and lots of dancing, eating, drinking and celebrating. It was blissful to simply enjoy the moment and feel normal again. No one seemed concerned about catching anything, other than some good fortune in the casino.
After we returned home, healthy and suntanned, we counted our blessings. I considered it a minor miracle that we managed to dodge the COVID bullet. Of course, life’s occasional irony isn’t lost on me: as I sit here, reflecting on the joys of feeling normal again post-COVID, my husband is sick in bed with a raging fever from COVID.
He probably caught the virus doing something mundane like going to the store or running an errand; certainly nothing as exotic or risky as being on a crowded cruise to Bermuda.
This recent health hiccup certainly won’t stop us from planning future trips, nor stop the ever-growing number of others who have resumed their traveling and activities as they get back to “normal,” or something resembling normalcy, anyway.
This new year, I look forward to the simple joy of being together with friends and family again. As you celebrate the holidays and navigate your own new normal, I wish you a sweet year ahead filled with good health, time with loved ones, and much happiness. L’shanah tovah!
Jodi Danis is the business manager for the Atlanta Jewish Times.