Right now, the Internet is awash with extroverts climbing the walls amidst social distancing. My poor sisters are jonesing for people. Per usual, I feel like a bit of an oddball because, in many ways, I think I’m less lonely here in the heart of isolation.
Being a single mom is a lonely gig. I often find myself on the outside of the acceptable groups, a bit adrift from the rest of humanity. I don’t get invited to social functions that are largely for couples. I work too many hours to be deeply involved in parent groups at the boys’ school. I’ve never been much of a bar hopper, but I’m especially not now that I’m solidly in my 40s.
Usually, I’m working full-time outside the house and trying to juggle everyone’s competing activity schedules, so I'm too busy to notice it as much, but it also keeps me too busy to reach out to make connections with people. I join things like Meet-Ups, trying to find groups of like-minded people, but I’m invariably too broke and too tired to attend the events.
The truth is, I have friends - wonderful friends - who have their own spouses and children and lives. We are all just so terribly, painfully busy these days.
Pretty much overnight, Covid cleared my calendar, along with the rest of the world’s. But we humans are social creatures; we didn’t let it stop us for long.
There have been a lot of things I’ve seen in the past month that have left me scratching my head, wondering if I will ever understand humanity. But there have been many beautiful moments of people reaching out and finding ways to connect and support one another as we get through this period of isolation together.
Almost immediately, I was added to a local group galvanizing as a community to keep people informed and help people find the resources they needed. Then other Facebook groups like Heart Hunters and What Do You See From Your Window? #StayAtHome popped up, creating a sense of solidarity with others practicing social distancing around the globe.
My family started game nights via Zoom and the HouseParty App, and I saw nieces and nephews I haven’t seen in years because we’re scattered across the country.
Patrick Stewart started reading us A Sonnet a Day. John Krasinski started sharing Some Good News, even hosting a prom for 2020 seniors. Every morning for the past week, I’ve tuned in to Travis Linville’s live stream along with others from around the world, forming what’s been dubbed “the morning crew.”
When a Final Fantasy gamer died of COVID-19, the community honored her with an online funeral procession in what was truly a beautiful moment.
I don’t really know where I’m going with this, except to say that this week has been unsettling for me with all of the strife over when and how to end social distancing. I have opinions on the subject, but they’re just that, opinions. I’m not a scientist and what I think really doesn’t matter. I’ll go back to my office when I’m told to because I have kids to feed.
BUT, whenever I start to get too upset by the venom people are spewing at each other because they feel out of control in this crazy situation, I stop and think about all of the stuff above. I think about all of the people who reached out to check on me and the boys. I think about the store manager at work who created a giant sign that read "We will be okay" in the fence at one of our Iowa locations. I think about the way the entire world, or at least a good portion of it, pressed the pause button and joined together for even this one moment.
As with all things, I’m inching my way through this crisis, hopeful yet pragmatic. Thankful for where I am in this particular moment but aware that circumstances change. Mindful of those around me who are suffering.
Wherever you are tonight, I hope you are well, and I hope you’ve found a tribe to weather this storm with. And if you need a friend, I'm just an email or message away.