Finally, there’s hope. Hope that this may all be over soon. The end is near. There’s a light at the end of the tunnel. (I don’t know about you, but I am hoping that light doesn’t turn out to be an oncoming train.) But all jokes aside, (I think that was a joke) it is beginning to look like the idea of returning to some form of normality may soon become a reality (Pause for cheering).

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Finally, there’s hope. Hope that this may all be over soon. The end is near. There’s a light at the end of the tunnel. (I don’t know about you, but I am hoping that light doesn’t turn out to be an oncoming train.) But all jokes aside, (I think that was a joke) it is beginning to look like the idea of returning to some form of normality may soon become a reality (Pause for cheering).

But after nearly a year and a half of masking, sanitizing and avoiding human contact, how do we go about returning to normal? What is the first thing you plan to do once this is all behind us?

For many Westview members, human contact, and in particular, hugs, are vitally important.

Bev Gunnarson pretty much echoed my own feelings and attitudes. Bev said, “Hugging my family and friends. We are three weeks fully vaxxed and I have already started doing that. I’ve hugged my son and three of our friends and it feels so good.”

Contact with family and friends was a very common desire among every Westview member interviewed. Dave Crowe added, “I’m really looking forward to getting together with friends and family, in person. Having to see them, either at a distance or over video chat, isn’t the same thing.”

With restrictions lightening up, Dave Winsel and Rose Postey are looking forward to going to their daughter’s wedding in Regina in September. Margie Martin looks forward to having friends over for dinner again. Margie added, “I am looking forward to going to concerts, the theatre and to classes. I apparently do not learn well remotely. I know that there are a number of wonderful opportunities to learn things online, but I am not one to learn things online. So I will very glad to get back to classes.”

Our Co-presidents, Kathleen Farmery and Wendy Sikora, have also been missing human contact. But once you get past the human need for physical contact, Kathleen admits to missing travel. She said, “We had a trip planned to my sister’s place that got cancelled. After missing people, I also miss traveling.”

Wendy added, “I miss the fellowship of all the community groups we have been involved in. Zoom doesn’t cut it.”

Having our lives completely turned upside down has caused us to re-evaluate many of the things in life that we used to take for granted. Bev said, “I miss having a feeling of safety and a feeling of normality in my life. I miss being able to go to the store without having a heightened level of anxiety. I miss spontaneously deciding to go out to eat, or go to the movie theatre. I miss all of those things.”

Dave Crowe’s thoughts matched Bev’s. He said, “Surprisingly, I miss not being able to do what I want. We are so used to just jumping in our cars and running to the store to pick up something, or popping over to chat with friends. But with the pandemic, you have to think about restrictions, whether it is allowed, whether it’s safe, whether it can wait, whether I can get it online. I never would have thought it would be that important.”

When it comes to getting back on the dance floor, there are a variety of emotions, but the consensus is, let’s do it.

My personal fear is that the last year has caused me to forget everything I’ve learned. A few practice dances that Jan and I have tried at home has only confirmed those fears. As it turns out, we are not alone in those fears. Dave Winsel said, “We’re with you there, both uncertain and feeling like we’ve forgotten everything. There’s also a certain excitement about being able to get back on the dance floor again.”

Bev said, “Claude and I have been in the club since 1997 and now I’d say that we’d fit right in with the beginners. I’m really looking forward to getting back on the dance floor again. I’m looking forward to dancing and looking forward to trying to remember what we did. I’m very excited for that.”

Wendy said, “I can’t wait. I don’t care if I’m good. I just want to dance.”

“I’m excited to get back,” Kathleen said, “but I also have a bit of trepidation, because I think I’ve forgotten everything. But I’m sure it will come back once we start dancing.”

Although everyone has found other things to fill in the time they used to spend dancing, they are all ready to put those things aside and get back on the floor. Kathleen said, “I don’t think it will be hard to fit dance back in. I’m sick of cleaning. I’ve done a ton of organizing and cleaning. I don’t think I’ll have any trouble putting that aside.”

Dave Crowe said, “The only trouble with fitting dance back into our schedule is whether we can stand the excitement of actually going out in public again.”

“Dancing is connected to our social connections, to our friends,” Bev said. “That is our draw. To get back with our friends.”

So as more people get vaccinated and the province and country opens up more and more, the dream of returning to the dance floor is becoming more and more real. We still don’t know what the future holds, but there is every reason to be optimistic. In closing, I am going to make a very strong suggestion to our Westview members. Everyone has to make a personal decision, but since reopening and the potential of returning to the dance floor could very likely be connected to the amount of people vaccinated, I beg you all to do your part and please get vaccinated. We want to see you back on the dance floor again.

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