Lifestyle Opinion

My Authentic Journey: We Are Ready to See the Light!

Courtesy of Jeannette Dardenne

Experiential stories that revolve around the importance of being authentic to not only yourself but to those around you. After years of never finding the time to ‘stop and smell the roses,’ Jeannette is unearthing many of her passions including writing, fashion, and thrifting through her online blog ‘My Authentic Journey’ (formerly called ‘The Vineyard Life’) – a creative outlet that allows her to share, learn, and grow with others. You can explore more of her stories at @jeannettepdardenne on Instagram or www.myauthenticjourney.com.

By Jeannette Dardenne

The anticipation of getting my first COVID-19 vaccine was surreal.

The drive over was filled with emotion – both excitement and concern. Yes, I would be one step closer to safety not only for myself but for those around me. But, does this mean that now I had more freedom to move about? Or was I still going to feel uneasy when around others?

<Anyone else feel out of your element when you find yourself in a space with more than 4 people? I mean … For over a year, for the most part, we have all disconnected ourselves from others.>

And as I drove home with a dose of protection in my arm, I now looked forward to my second vaccination date – almost 3 weeks away. I also felt a sense of giddy excitement – I now had a battle shield, just not the sword.

When I saw friends, <still at a distant> or visited stores <within reason>, or even dined at restaurants <mask on and armed with plenty of hand sanitizer>, I definitely felt more in control and not as antsy. It was a welcomed feeling that I am not sure one could truly understand pre- Covid.

The night before my second vaccination, I had trouble sleeping. So much anxiety was coursing through my mind.

Would I oversleep and miss my appointment?

Would I feel sick soon after the shot?

Would my arm be in pain?

Would I now be safe?

I arrived ½ an hour early, and took my place in line.

The woman in front of me, seemed to share the same fear and excitement – it was a comforting feeling especially during such a momentous occasion.

Once I was asked to come into the building, I floated in. Not really hearing the voices around me, but watching for cues on where to stand, what to show them, and when I would be ready for my vaccine.

I sat down in front of the nurse already rolling up my sleeve. I was ready. The shot happened and I didn’t even feel it. I think I may have smiled, said a silent cheer, and quickly took my spot again next to the woman who I stood next to online – she had become a sense of stability during this experience.

We smiled at each other and shared tips for how to keep our arm from getting overly sore and hopefully how to lessen the common side effects. Once our 15 minutes was up, we waved goodbye and I slid into my car.

Relief, Control, Happiness.

I recently asked friends to share some of their own feelings after receiving their vaccinations. Here are a few:

“Relief, Hopeful, Vaccinated”

“This vaccine signifies the light at the end of a very dark tunnel. It signifies that change is coming. And I couldn’t be happier to be a part of it.”


“Grateful and relieved that we are making progress.”

“I’m so excited to see the light at the end of the tunnel.”

“I’m excited to get my haircut and really looking forward to grocery/farmers market shopping where I can browse instead of and then cook based on what’s there instead of having to meal plan and shop like I’m on some kind of mission.”

“I’m scheduling a trip to the salon to get my haircut – it hasn’t been cut since Feb 2020.”

“I feel relief, like a huge weight has been lifted off my shoulders.”

“Life is starting to feel normal again.”

“I am so excited to get out and see friends and family again!”

Jeannette Punsoni Dardenne is an entrepreneur who started the popular Facebook group @eatinconnecticut – a community forum that connects foodies and the food and beverage industry for delicious conversations. She and her business partner now together run @eatinconnecticut and INGroup Creative – a public relations and marketing company that helps small businesses thrive. Jeannette is also a business advisor at the University of Hartford Entrepreneur Center & Women’s Business Center. When she isn’t helping others, she enjoys exploring the state and beyond with her husband and two children.

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