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The Unintended Consequences of Social Distancing

OK, I know I’ve been lucky during this pandemic, and for a number of reasons.  First of all (and knock on wood) neither I nor Becky have had any serious illness in our direct circle that I’m aware of.   Second, I’m an introvert at heart.  Now for those who know me in a business capacity, you may have just raised an eyebrow, but yes my friends, you can be an introvert and still be a successful public speaker in your job. (You just can’t also be the party animal, as you need down time after each gig!).  For the most part, I enjoy my alone time.  Even when I was a kid I really didn’t mind being sent to my room, or wandering outside playing alone.  I guess it was calming to me in some ways. 

The third and probably biggest reason I’m lucky in this pandemic is that I have a very insightful and caring wife.  In early March when COVID initially hit, Becky and I talked about what we would do if this thing were to last longer than a few weeks.  Neither of us anticipated that we would be where we are now, but we knew that social distancing could have an enormous and potentially negative impact on our lives if we didn’t get out in front of the situation.  We talked about ways we could use the time if forced to stay home, including completing some of those outstanding house and property projects, etc.  We talked about ways that we could still be physically active while staying socially distant, like exploring this amazing peninsula we live on.  We also talked about the things we could finally spend time learning- things that just never made the priority list when we were in the hamster wheel of our previous lives.  Now remember, we weren’t planning on this lasting for very long, so it was initially with a positive attitude and open eyes that we bought our masks, donned our gloves, and stayed home except for essential (ok, and almost essential) trips to the store.

What I didn’t anticipate however were the unintended consequences of this time, which honestly are both positive and negative, and (let me know if you agree) tend to come in waves and at the oddest times.  Things like:

  • A sense of accomplishment that my ‘to do’ list is actually getting shorter! 
  • Happiness and contentment that I’ve been able to spend the last few months with my best friend and have had some of the best times in our relationship trying new recipes, enjoying the property, and spending time talking about everything under the sun.
  • Tapping into my creative side again in ways that I haven’t done in awhile
  • If I’m honest, a bit of unjustified anger because it feels like we are out of control and there is no plan or easy way to get back in control.
  • Worry that this thing is or will hit our little community and impact our family, friends, and neighbors
  • Sadness that we haven’t been able to visit family in person rather than over the phone…

The reason I bring this up is that the big question I see now is determining what pieces of “the COVID normal” do we want to embrace and take into our “new normal” once we have pulled out of this pandemic?  For me, it’s a few things. 

  1. Nurturing my creativity. It keeps me centered, happy, and passionate about each day. I now keep a pad of paper by the side of the bed to write down the ideas that I’m dreaming about- things like new approaches to photography, art pieces, and adventures.
  2. Continued focus on learning, no matter the topic. It keeps a sense of wonder in the week, and I look forward to exploring new ideas and subjects.  I am a rabid fan of the local library, MasterClass, Udemy, and others.
  3. Continued prioritizing time with Becky. I can’t express enough how much I have appreciated and continue to appreciate time spent exploring, dreaming, and laughing with her.  It’s priceless to me.

The rest of it?  Well, I’ll be happy when I can go out for a beer with friends, go to a concert or game, and just be social without constantly monitoring a 6’ radius, fogging up my glasses with my mask, and having hand sanitizer stashed literally everywhere!  I’ll be relieved when we can travel and see my mom, brother, sister in law, and niece and truly know they are ok.  And I’ll be happy to feel in control of my destiny again.

Right now though, I think I’ll head out for a hike with Becky, Jax, and my camera.  And I’m very thankful I can do that.


This Post Has 3 Comments

  1. Tom

    You have touched my heart. I feel the same about you and Becky. I too enjoy my alone time. I also love to just walk the property and see nothing but nature all around.

    Love you,

  2. Tom

    I feel the same way about you and Becky. I love to just meander on the property and take in all the wonderful nature. Being alone is always a blessing once you overcome the thought of being alone.

    Love you,

  3. DeEtta

    Self reflection…not only incredibly healthy but especially necessary in our current environment. I’m so glad you wrote this as it gives me incentive to do the same! You reminded me how fortunate we are but even so, its so easy to get “stuck”. I can only cook, netflix, and read so much. And so I’m determined to start learning new creative things again…at least once a week. Master Class and a Udemy, here I come!

    Thanks for the inspiration! ❤️❤️

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