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  • Naomi Raiselle

It's a New World. It's not "back to normal" - it's a new normal.

As friends and family proudly confirm they are now fully vaccinated, parties and family gatherings are back. I, for one, have now spent 2 weekends socializing: a weekend with family and friends; and this weekend, a beautiful, tented wedding.

What I've noticed: More eye contact. Hugs are longer and deeper. smiles are more genuine and conversation is more real. Couples and families are displaying more public affection. Style has become less important than substance.

COVID was traumatic. Many faced unexpected deaths in their families. Many are still suffering from lingering symptoms. Those of us who survived, the lucky ones, missed more than a full year of hugs, dinners, and shared special occasions. Grandchildren suddenly grew up. We became experts on masks - which were the most comfortable, most protective. Shoes and shopping disappeared as we had minimal need to dress for Zoom.

And here we are: Tentatively moving out of our isolation and into community, having discovered how important community was during COVID. I hope we never forget what we have learned.

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