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It Takes A Village
January 15, 2021 – The Twenty-Seventh Blog of the RestorationAge
I’m going to try to keep this week short because of the textbook I wrote last week on goal-setting. If you need a good bedtime story, take a look at that blog. I’d be interested to hear that if you read that blog before you went to sleep, did you dream about goals? Did you wake up with thoughts of things you want to accomplish? Sometimes they say things like that could happen, so I’m just wondering.
Well, it was truly a most extraordinary week that our grandkids will be studying in history and will be immortalized in documentary film. That film is still being written as I type this blog and so I press on…
It is truly hard to believe that we are halfway through January. The sun is out on the day that I am typing this first draft and it is beyond a sight for sore eyes. There is definitely something about short, dark, cold winter days; days of social unrest and a shaky political bedrock; days of a raging virus and the need to stay separated; days of isolation – alone in your own thoughts and insecurities.
But what is it that they say? It’s always darkest before the dawn? We’ve been in a pretty light-starved period of time. After the holidays are always a big let down, but this period, this year, I mean, come on! Have we reached that darkest point yet? Will it be dawn soon?
On this I do know; the days are getting longer and they will get warmer, we will all have the chance to get the vaccine, voices of the unheard will be heard, and we will have a new President in less than a week. All of these thing will happen. Put money on it.
But beyond the winter struggle are the issues that we each face because of what we have learned about ourselves and other people during our Coronayear. I heard so many people at the beginning of quarantine talk about how they were made for it. That they were introverts and homebodies at heart and so the quarantine gave them permission to be who they really are. They welcomed a shelter in place order. In fact, I freely admit that I was in that camp.
Now that we are approximately ten months in, I have heard two sides of how the year has gone for these people. One side that claimed they were introverts and were going to enjoy quarantine claim to be amazed at how connected they became with others through technology. They felt that their personal interaction score increased because of quarantine. But then there are the rest who also claimed to be introverts and they feel they lost at least some connectivity that they once had with people.
I am one of the latter. It didn’t happen all of a sudden; it was a condition that creeped up on me. One of my goals for 2020 had been to reconnect with people. This was before Covid, so I’m not really sure why I felt I needed to put that down as a goal, but when I reviewed my goals at the end of the year, I realized that I had failed in that one, especially in this year. Of course I saw some people and if it hadn’t been for friends on bikes, I probably would have imploded, but on the whole, outside of work, I’ve only been on 3 zoom calls and 2 of those were on major holidays.
I withdrew and made it easy for myself to live inside my head and feel like the things I’ve been dealing with are singular. That surely nobody else feels like I do – sad, afraid, frustrated, unsatisfied at times, but also hopeful. I was wrong. When I publicly posted my blog on New Years, I had no idea the amount of comments, calls, texts, messages and etc. that I would get from women just like me, letting me know that they felt the same or similar as me.
It cracked a window and I could smell the fresh air. And once I felt that healing breeze, I went a step further; I invited a friend that I hadn’t seen in six months on a walk. We caught up and the ideas of things we talked about filled my soul. Then I took part in a Saturday night cocktail zoom call with my sister and a long-time friend that I hadn’t seen in over a year. And while it was odd at first, because as I explained “I’m out of practice actually talking to people”, it was amazing. The next day I picked up the phone and called a friend from work that I normally would have water-cooler conversations with every day. To top things off I went on a bike ride with two great friends in the middle of the day, in the middle of the week, which we all admitted felt like we were doing something wrong. 🙂
My human connection muscle is weak. I admit it. But every time I get that face to face time, it gets a little stronger. The mere fact that I can tap into other people to express how I’m feeling and to find out that I’m not alone is priceless. These friends get it and don’t judge me for it. A (wo)man can’t be an island unto (her)himself. I’ve tried. And it doesn’t work. It is most evident that I totally need human connection and can with pretty much 100% accuracy say that each of you do as well, no matter if you identify as an introvert or not.
So I encourage you to rejoin the land of the living with me. I heard something recently could be helpful. To battle isolation, list out ten people, family or friends, that love you. When you write this list and review it, it will be hard not to feel the love they have for you and the love you have for them.
Then, no texting. No emailing. Pick up a phone. Schedule an open aired meet up. Get on zoom. Work hard to look into each other’s eyes and hear each other’s voice LIVE. Talk. Listen. Share. Laugh. Be understanding.
They keep saying that things will never go back to normal, and I believe that. But I think the one thing that will not change is our need for human connection and our insistence for having it because, let’s face it, we all need a village to get through life.