Think back to the early days of summer 2021. You’d already posted your #PfizerGang selfies and were feeling…wait, is that optimism? Could it be? After more than a year of pandemic living, it was just starting to feel like there was a light at the end of the tunnel. And in some ways, there was. Post-vaccines (thanks, science!), many of us were feeling, for the first time in a long time, like we could partake in some of our favorite pre-COVID activities without the crushing anxiety that had accompanied pretty much any outing since early March 2020. We were able to sit inside for dinner when it was unbearably hot al fresco; we finally used that quickly expiring museum membership that was part of our failed 2020 New Year’s Resolution to be more cultured; we—gasp—flew on an actual airplane to visit friends across the country.
But recently, we’ve been experiencing a familiar sense of anxiety creeping into our daily lives. We’re feeling, to coin a phrase, déjàvirus.
What is déjàvirus, you ask? Well, much like its strange but generally non-malicious cousin, déjà vu, déjàvirus is the feeling that you’ve experienced this kind of COVID-19-related anxiety before.
And honestly, it makes sense. Suddenly, we’re back to wearing masks everywhere. We’re back to working from home in our sweats as office openings get delayed. And, as schools across the country return to in-person classes—many for the first time in a year and a half—parents are experiencing much of the same stress they felt at this time last year. (Some, especially, are feeling the weight of knowing that their children are too young to get vaccinated, but are still susceptible to a virus that’s very much a threat.)