Every night has its dawn: What I’m most excited for when normal returns

Unprecedented. Pandemic. The year that shall not be named.

Dr. Vaughn

To say this past year has been “wild” is about as understated as statements can come.

I became unemployed and re-employed within a few weeks. I went from being nonessential to the public to absolutely essential and probably the busiest I’ve ever been. I applied, interviewed, and was accepted into an endodontic residency program without ever leaving my couch.

Technology seems to have accelerated and for the first time ever, despite being a Millennial, I feel as if I’m having trouble keeping up. Just yesterday I watched a TikTok where an 8th grader wearing a Joe Exotic t-shirt gave a 60-second tutorial on how he trades obscure cryptocurrencies that make him more money than his parents do.

What a time to be alive.

It’s been a roller coaster; one I wouldn’t dare ride at Six Flags. But now that I’ve gotten two sticks in the arm, the thought of us returning to reality is finally starting to settle in, and it feels quite nice. Maybe the ride is almost over. We can only hold on tight and hope.

I think we all have things that we can’t wait to do once we’re all vaccinated and begin the return to normal. For myself, a few experiences definitely come to mind.

Being around the ones we love is and always will be at the top. Don’t get me wrong, a part of me really enjoyed a couple months of social time-out at home, but that’s not how life’s supposed to be spent. I’m really looking forward to spending more time with my family. I’m looking forward to big outings with all my friends. I’m looking forward to potlucks at work instead of eating lunch alone at my desk every day. While we’re at it, let’s throw in some weddings and birthdays and we got ourselves a party.

I’m also looking forward to those experiences that just aren’t the same socially distanced. I’m talking about concerts, “family style” restaurants, and cheering on your favorite team. I’m also talking about special occasion date nights with unique dinners that are as much about the experience as they are the food. Can’t quite put my finger on it, but there’s just something about a curbside pick-up of a $100 omakase jammed into a brown paper box that just doesn’t do it for me.

It’s funny how there are all these tiny little things that used to annoy me that now, I’d love to get back if it meant a glimpse of normalcy.

Like “Saver fare” seats on an airplane. Sure, my wife and I spent our honeymoon flight wedged in middle seats that were 4 rows apart, but it meant we were going places, baby!

I’d also gladly put on a suit and wear an itchy badge lanyard if it meant in-person CE. Yes, webinars have their place, and I do think they’re probably here to stay in some capacity, but I think we all have probably found our tolerance threshold. The first webinar is exciting and convenient and your eyes are glued to the screen! The one hundredth? Your camera’s turned off because you’re in the other room binging Netflix or DoorDashing dinner.

I will agree though that the grass is always greener on the other side, and so I’ll be the first to admit there are a few things on this side of the fence I’ll definitely be carrying back over to normal life once we’ve gotten the green light.

Namely, face shields. Now that’s a new found friend I may hold on to forever. Honestly I feel ashamed that we made it this long without them. I’ve been meaning to buy my face a drink and apologize for all of the spray and splatter I’ve unknowingly subdued it to for all these years. I’m so sorry buddy. I promise I’ll do better.

But enough about me; what about you all? What are you looking forward to doing again once things return to normal? Let us know in the comments!

Dr. Joe Vaughn is a general dentist who graduated from the University of Alabama and currently practices in Seattle, Washington. He works both as an associate in a private practice as well as in a public health clinic. Dr. Vaughn currently serves in roles with both the Seattle King County Dental Society and the Washington State Dental Association. He is passionate about organized dentistry, writing, and talking with other dentists about the many issues we are facing in our profession today. He welcomes any and all of your questions/comments and can be reached at jkvaughn44@gmail.com.

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