Not becoming a complete social outcast
I always thought ‘social distancing’ is a very misleading term. Just because science advices us to stay physically away from others doesn’t mean we have to become social outcasts. While we always knew that our kids are a product of a digital world, this pandemic has truly made us all digitally connected. Interestingly, we have not turned into robots yet. In fact, what keeps me hopeful is that the world now feels a little more ‘human’ than the pre-pandemic period and here’s why I say this – More and more people are reaching out to marginalized communities to offer help. More people seem to enjoy home cooked meals being forcefully quarantined with their families at home. More people are reading, walking, hiking, exercising, meditating. More people are connecting with long lost friends and family through video calls. While social gatherings are on a decline, one-on-one conversations are making a come back. And this is all great..
But not all of us feel comfortable with this change. For those who stay alone, these times are especially difficult since humans are innately social animals. And not having another human to touch, hug or simply share the same physical space with can be a bit depressing. But imagine how did people get through social distancing during the Spanish Flu back in 1917? May be then, we might consider ourselves a little bit lucky.
What is working so far
Hug yourself. Talk to yourself. Start a journal. Join a support group online. And get in touch with that friend or family member you haven’t been speaking to because you were ‘too busy’ with your life. Me and 4 of my college friends who know each other for over 2 decades and are now in different parts of the world had not spoken to each other in over 8 years. We kept a check on each other’s lives through social media, but really didn’t catchup personally for a long time. This pandemic caused us all to get back in touch and organize a weekly catch up session. I thought it would frizzle out in a few weeks, but I am proud to say that we are on Week 8 and now look forward to seeing each others’ faces every week! We all marvel over the fact that while we knew what each one of us was up to from the surface, we didn’t really know how we were all really doing. This gives us something to look forward to each week. We sometimes don’t have real updates, but we we spend an hour simply laughing and catching up over old times. And that itself is the silver-lining we all need to keep going.
The only hindsight I wish is that this doesn’t become a hindsight. I would love to be able to keep these rediscovered, rekindled friendships and conversations going. And hope that the world stays connected with each other in more positively human ways after all this is over.