We are in the midst of some unprecedented times. So many introverts are posting memes about how wonderful and relieving social distancing is and I’m over here with a heaviness setting in. The very words “social distancing” evoke a sense of anxiety in me anytime I hear them. To be honest, I’m finding even the thought of being away from people is a struggle when, a social-being by nature, I work from home (primarily in the online realm) and live alone already—not to mention coming off of months of being cooped up because of the winter season. Add in a dash of my own current personal challenges and, well, this does not sound like the recipe of good vibes I’ve been accustomed to cooking up for myself. We’ve all got something going on under the smiles and the uncertainty that we are experiencing right now triggers us all in our own way. For me, it is my perceived “aloneness”.
Now, don’t get me wrong. I know I am never truly alone—I have amazing family and friends, but I am also selective about where I go and who I spend my time with. I have no trouble choosing to spend time on my own before anyone who may not be “good company” for my soul. I have always been comfortable with my independence and “alone time”, but feeling lonely is a different story. And, as life would have it, I have already been hovering under a layer of loneliness for months now—being single can be hard. I’m already in an overall deficit with receiving my daily quota of hugs for healthy living (they say 8 is the magic number) and I am a person who feels that. Feeling things deeply is both my blessing and my curse. When I go out in public, I hold doors, engage with cashiers and store greeters, and smile and say hello to strangers all the time to give and receive my own sunshine. It fills my heart to be able to offer kindness and give love to another. Human interaction lifts me up. I like to be thoughtful and do the little things – knowing the impact they can have on someone – because I know how much those things mean to me when they are extended my way. Working in coffee shops and cafés often helps pass the time for me. So, when people are your paradise, the very thing that lifts you up is threatened.
The world is in a strange place right now, and my paradise within is definitely being challenged. Even if it’s not fear, (which, for myself I can’t say is the feeling I’m tapping into), there is not one person on this globe who isn’t carrying uncertainty and that is a heavy energy to surround ourselves in. As one of my close friends said, “It’s like preparing for a hurricane, but you don’t know when/if the storm will hit.” I share this, not only because writing is a helpful way to acknowledge and unload my thoughts, but, because, as I’ve said before, my life is not all sunshine and palm trees and I work through the tough stuff, too. I want you all to know that for as positive as I aim to be, I’m with you all, just trying to navigate through this, like any other, and it’s bringing up some very real feelings for me. If you feel off, but not overcome by fear, I get this.
It’s like preparing for a hurricane, but you don’t know when/if the storm will hit.
Be patient. Be kind. Send love. Reach out. Show compassion for how everyone is processing these times. We need connectedness now more than ever. Social distancing cannot mean being emotionally disconnected. I’m all for technology playing it’s part here—it pays my bills and keeps me connected to so many people I love—but, the struggle is real in that there are some things it just cannot replace.
You can rest assured I’ll do my part to play it smart and heed any warnings we are receiving at this time. Not because I’m worried so much about myself, but because I care that much about others. You can think what you want about why and how this is all happening, whether people are over or underreacting, but it IS happening and all we can do is come together as people to make the load lighter in any way we can for ourselves, another, and each and every one of us. Now, more than ever, is a time to choose love over fear. We all need it.
P.S. – Thank you to my bestie who randomly checked in with me at just the right moment today. We all need people like that in our lives—the ones who hear your silence…and can still feel you from far away.