I confess, I’m antsy. In the last 21 months, I’ve been out only twice “to socialize.”

First flight. Nineteen months into the pandemic, I finally step out with thirteen, intrepid golden girls—who risk life and limb for a pictorial to celebrate 40 years of graduation from high school.

Wow. I’m a Ruby Jubilarian. I feel immensely grateful, but also positively ancient.

It was a 100 percent fully-vaxxed activity, crew included. We had just lost one of our own to Delta. As agreed, no communal eating occurred. After the first shoot, we returned to our respective homes and then regrouped for the second shoot.

I’m an owl, not a lark. But 5:30 am was our call time. I decided not to sleep through the night to get to the morning shoot on time.

The things we do for love.

Second flight. Three weeks later, I meet up with two friends. It is essential. One is in town only for two days and wants to do breakfast. I want to cry. Again. They’re both larks. Sleep-deprived, I show up for breakfast al fresco at 7:15. I look ghastly but I’m there.

The things we do for love.

I’m antsy, I confess. I’m still not comfortable attending socials. It’s not personal. Please understand. It’s not you. It’s me.

I am now seriously afflicted with FOGO (fear of going out). I already had high anxiety levels before the pandemic. The pandemic simply amplified all my anxieties.

I live with my 96-year-old father who expressly wants to stay alive, well and uninfected with this virus. How can I think of socializing when my own father has barred his own children abroad from visiting him? So don’t take it personally if guests are not welcome in our home. It’s not you. It’s us.

I never imagined that a prolonged period of time inside the cave could actually affect my mental health. I am a social being, after all, despite my anti-social affectations. But if my extremely “social” father can make such a sacrifice, how can “selectively social” me not hack it? So, I grind my teeth and stay cave-bound.

The things we do for love.

It will be two weeks tomorrow since my booster shot. But I’m not bullet-proof. Still. And I will never be. It’s time for me to move on. I know. I’m not entirely opposed to stepping out. I’m just taking my time and paranoia to the next level by now being “supremely selectively social.”

Third flight. The butterflies have been flying in wild formation all week. But today, I will courageously crawl out of my cave, return to the company of humankind and walk down the aisle to fulfill a promise I made.

The things we do for love.

Because after all, “what good are wings without the courage to fly?”