The need to reconnect now feels urgent. I am craving face-to-face, meaningful interactions with people outside our immediate family circle and our dog and cat, who have been elevated to almost human level during the pandemic. I took entertaining for granted before, often looking at it as something I had to plan for. It meant we didn’t entertain often. Now I want to fling open the doors and have our home filled with the friends and family we have missed. It doesn’t matter if we eat on a china plate or a paper plate or have a home-cooked meal or a pizza. — Sally Mathew, Birmingham, Ala.
I am looking forward to wearing lipstick this summer. Not a light color that matches your gums, but a real stains-the-napkin-at-lunch bright coral. Something that isn’t going back behind a mask. That is when I will know we have moved on. — Becky Schaeffer, Atlanta
I am attending a small, masked, distanced outdoor concert in Santa Cruz, Calif., a big step toward the new normal. I’m going with my concert buddy girlfriend, who was my companion at the last show I attended in January 2020. — Mara J. Wildfeuer, Mountain View, Calif.
My friends and I have been meeting together every summer and planning a trip for the past 11 years or so. Last year was tough not seeing them. This year we’re going on a canoe trip together and I can’t wait. We’re all vaccinated, have been diligent and safe throughout the pandemic, and we’re excited to have a moment of normalcy together out in the woods. There are things I’m not quite ready to do (eat inside being one) but more and more, as vaccination rates go up, I’ve started to feel moments of regularity that have shined through. It’s a vaxxed-up summer! — Jared Smith, Boston
Traveling to Capri and Positano for a wedding in September. — Mary Bairstow, Atlanta
I’m looking forward to being spontaneous! Living in the moment with no reservations. — Robin Berman, Briarcliff Manor, N.Y.
I’m looking forward to sitting in a park and feeling content with where I’m at with the world. I’m looking forward to smelling fresh cut grass without a mask. Listening to birds sing on branches above me. Watching the way the sun looks as it peeks behind the distant clouds. I’m looking forward to focusing on these pleasant sensory details and nothing else. I’ve waited a long time to move to New York and the pandemic pushed it back another year. But last week, I took a plane and then a train and then a cab. And now I’m standing in a shower that’s too small. I’m cooking in a kitchen that’s too crowded. I’m lugging bags of groceries up five flights of stairs. And I love it. — Samuel Eaton, New York