by Cassandra Seidenfeld
Many people dread the idea of being alone, especially in bustling cities like New York and Los Angeles, where we are accustomed to seeing many people every day. Whether we interact with them or not sometimes isn’t as important as the simple comfort of knowing that they are nearby should we desire contact.
We are accustomed to being in hyper mode: rushing around as quickly as we can, grabbing something to go, skipping meals altogether, running from point A to Z, squeezing into various modes of transport to get to work and appointments on time, planning, more planning, and barely having enough time to just make it through each day.
Now, unless we are an essential / necessity worker or on the front lines, we are in our homes (or we should be) that we weren’t able to spend enough time in prior to self isolation, wondering how we will fill our time productively.
These past few weeks of self-isolation have been eye-opening, regarding the notion of being alone and isolated from peers, loved ones, family, and friends. In our struggle to find a new equilibrium and routine, we appear to have stumbled into a period of connectivity, which is different but perhaps even greater than before. The phones have been ringing off the hook, flooded with inquiries of our well-being, catching up with long long lost friends and overlooked family members. Making those calls for which there was never enough time before isolation, has become the very activity which molds our days and gives us purpose.
Webinars and virtual meetings are up 1000% in the past weeks, if not more, in my opinion. I didn’t have Zoom prior to March 11th, and now I live on it. It’s a way to stay connected. I engage with peers, meet new people, join new networking groups, rehearse scenes, and even participate in or host virtual cocktail parties and dinners.
In a webinar last week, the comment was made by one of the attendees “too bad we all don’t have stock in Zoom”. It’s true!
All of a sudden we seem to have a mountain of available time and we are using it in new creative ways to connect with each other. So the very isolation that keeps us in our own homes, has actually brought us very much closer together, often with a cohesiveness and caring that was previously lacking. We are truly all “in the same boat.”
We have discovered that we have time to make those calls that we never got around to before. We can jump on the web and continue our education through webinars. Our gyms are closed but we now work out wherever there is space in the apartment close to a computer screen for virtual gym classes. I still go out for a mask-covered jog, and I’ve greatly improved my home cooking.
We’ve rediscovered ways to connect, not just through SMSs or DMs, but by actually talking on the phone. More time is also being spent reflecting, searching for alternative activities, and even meditating. I believe that many of us spend time devoted to thinking about how we can do something to make our home, our lives, and our world, a better place.
Hopefully, this tragedy has also given us an opportunity to reset our priorities and our lives. Of course, for anyone getting sick, the only priority is a quick return to health and my heart goes out to every COVID-19 sufferer and to the countless doctors, nurses, health workers, volunteers, and everyone participating in the process of bringing people back to health.
For the rest of us simply rediscovering ourselves in this experience of isolation, I think we may find that our connections are closer and more meaningful than ever before.
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