Voice of Real Australia: Embracing the joy of human company

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Getting up at 5.30am for a gym class was a joy on Tuesday. Picture: Shutterstock

Getting up at 5.30am for a gym class was a joy on Tuesday. Picture: Shutterstock

I've got to get something off my chest.

Yesterday, I saw - in person - a dozen other human beings.

To be clear, we're all fully vaccinated; we scanned QR codes and wore masks when appropriate, but still the whole thing felt a little illicit.

As an extrovert in a new town, with a new job and a new niece back home, this lockdown was a bit rough.

I've been grateful for the company of my housemate and friends happy to have walking catch-ups, or get together for a surf.

At one point, down in the dumps, I did the math and during lockdown on average I'd see maybe six other (masked, socially-distanced) people in a week.

My phone became a lifeline; I clutched it constantly. Every little ding was reassurance to my lonely self that my friends and family were still there, that they did still care about me.

The prospect of being able to socialise, legally, safely again was so exciting I didn't sleep a wink the night before.

I woke at 5.30am for a 6am gym class. It's fair to say everyone in the room was buzzing - unusual for that time of morning.

Four of us decamped from the class to enjoy a bacon and egg roll together for breakfast - the local pub was doing a special.

Sitting in an old pub that played bad music with good company was one of the most sublime experiences I've had all year.

In the evening, a friend asked if I'd like to see a movie. We were the only ones in the theatre but choc tops and a giggle was another high note, after months of spending the evenings with my dog and Netflix.

On Tuesday morning I had a new spring in my step - I felt like myself for the first time since June.

The pandemic isn't over. We all need to stay mindful of how to enjoy our new-found freedoms without putting vulnerable friends and family at greater risk.

I know many others have had it far harder than I.

I hope everyone gets to see some light at the end of the tunnel; I hope we can all come together safely again soon.

With NSW exceeding 90 per cent first dose over the weekend, that feels more and more like a real possibility every day.

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