We’re in the second month of social isolation.
When it all began, we expected it to last only a few days, at worse a week or two. But then the days began to reveal the depth of the situation and the gravity of it all towards our health and safety, and soon a week became two, became three, became four. And while we counted the weeks, we worked on lists of stuff we should hoard and the TP’s and sanitizers vanished overnight.
Then frozen foods followed, then canned foods…then fruits and veggies almost doubled in cost. Dairy products became rationed, then meats diminished, then….then…then we keep re-writing that list and keep hoarding, but worse still is that the hoarding has crossed over from possessions to professions.
The profession of our humanity that is. We find that our freedom to chose who we isolate with is suddenly dictated by how we are related by law, based specifically by who makes the count in our yearly tax filing. Suddenly we are sharing spaces with people we can’t stand or who can’t stand us. We cannot isolate with our children, our parents or adult siblings because…well because we don’t share the same address even if we live down the road from each other.
Suddenly, even those charming spouses and children we look forward to coming home to at the end of the day seem to smile wrong ALL THE TIME, or get in our space ALL THE TIME, or, heck, we are realizing we never really enjoy spending time with them, well, maybe not in the sense we thought we did. Suddenly, we don’t want to be charitable with our understanding and patience, and accommodation for their annoyances. Suddenly we ‘see’ how much they are taking advantage of us.
Suddenly we miss our friends, and the lunches out, and the weekend theatres and outdoor concerts…and just the usual gossip, and in our frenzy to grab onto the old and recreate it, we forget to pause and look around us, or even look within. Be quiet and listen and maybe even attempt to answer the one nagging question ‘What exactly are we running away from?” Do we dislike ourselves and our own company so much that we feel the need to fill up that void with all the external stimulations we have become used to?
And what is it about the people we are sharing space with that suddenly rubs us the wrong way, or what about us rubs them wrongly? And is it really as hopeless, or is this a chance to sit down and figure out what little changes we need in place to make it bearable, or even, god forbid it, enjoyable?
We are all in a hurry to get out and ‘return to normal’. Can we sincerely say that if ‘normal’ as we knew it returns, that life will be lived, going forward, without complaining? Well, this is not life as we know it, right? This irritability is as a result of this ‘forced’ isolation, right? The unplanned changes are forcing us to change the norm and that can be hard on the psyche, right?
Or is it?
Is it possible that this situation is the juice maker? Lemon can only produce lemon juice. If the worse in us is surfacing now, is it also possible that it had been lying dormant deep down all along and just needed this ‘pressure’ to squeeze out the juice in us?
Just a thought…
©Naan Pocen 2020
P.S. Just like the rest of you, I am always on the lookout for positive challenges that I can use to make the best of this situation, and a video by Elizabeth Gilbert is it for me, this time. You may find it helpful too. I did.