One of the most difficult aspects of this pandemic is not the temporary loneliness, or the occasional overeating, the periodic boredom, or the wondering when will this be over, for me it is the absence of closeness. We live in a society that thrives on having personal space, in our homes we desire to have our own room, so we can close the door and keep others out. Some people often find themselves hiding in basements, closets or even the bathroom to escape people.
We are told to seek quiet time to slow down and learn to enjoy our own company. Some parents often teach their children how to play alone. In the process these children invent imaginary friends or they cling to their favorite doll or stuffed animal for comfort.
I am a proud Introvert and over the course of my life I have learned how to live with others who understand my need for quiet time and to dwell in a clean organized environment. We all have some area of life that is deeply impacted by this period of social distance. I miss the closeness of being near people without fear.
I miss sitting in the kitchen with my mom sipping coffee and catching up on life. I miss the hugs from family members, yes we are hugers. I teach college students and often they would initiate the invitation for a hug. I miss the intimacy of holding hands with a friend. I miss sneaking a gentle pinch from the cheek of a sweet plump baby. I especially miss the voices and camaraderie of my weekly chorus.
Although some restrictions have been lifted and people are going out to enjoy meeting up, however, there is still that sense of being careful to connect but not fully. I spent this entire pandemic living alone; very few people stop by to do a wellness check. I am grateful for the few times I have ventured out to meet friends for dinner, coffee, or to attend a church service. I haven’t been to a mall, department store or to the movies; or any other place that I fear maybe a crowd of people.
I am thankful for spring and I’ ve made a trip to the mountains and it felt amazing to connect with nature, but I was alone. In July I am planning a cross country drive from New York to California. I am so excited because this is something I have dreamed of doing. While compiling my packing list I remembered to add some extra items like, Lysol spray and wipes, extra masks, rubber gloves, and hand sanitizer. I am excited, but how well I know that voice of caution will be with me whispering, have fun, but be safe.