COVID-19 opened our eyes to what true connection means. I’m an extrovert which makes connecting and being together a necessity to thrive and feel great. Not being able to see my friends and family when I wanted to makes me value the time I took for granted prior to the pandemic. Since March of 2020, I’ve been journaling and reflecting on how I feel. It is not an exaggeration to say that I felt a desperation to spend quality time in person with my co-workers, clients, family, and friends.
Here are the reasons I feel being together is so very important.
Co-Workers and Customers
The pandemic made employers realize working from home is cost-effective. At first, this was fun and new but then we missed certain connections that only occur in person.
We all missed the “How was your weekend?” or “How did your date go?” or “Is your mom getting better?” Pre-pandemic, we were able to see the expressions on each others’ faces, feel that they truly cared, and then go on with our day with a sense of belonging.
Sure, we can do this over the phone but you miss the deep connection from being in the same space. We no longer smell the coffee they drink, see that they did their makeup a different way, or feel the care of another human in your presence. All those senses connect us in ways we may not have noticed before and the pandemic made us all feel like we wanted it back.
Of course, with Zoom, we can see them. But, if you’re in a group, it’s awkward to call someone out with a “OMG, Sally! You look amazing today!” or something similar in front of everyone. It’s lost because we’re not going to pick up the phone and say that to Sally after the meeting. The excitement of the moment is over and there is work to do. These adjustments we’ve made because of COVID-19 have suddenly taken away an important connection we once had.
Pre-COVID, we had the opportunity to spend time with family without the fear of the virus. We never wanted to be around someone sick but the stakes were much lower with something like the common cold.
Since COVID-19, we have been extra cautious about spreading a sickness to anyone vulnerable or anyone who feared the disease. Many family members believed it was worth it to stay home and not allow contact in order keep their loved ones and themselves safe.
In the years that followed, we lost those connections and even lost loved ones without being able to be in the same space as them, even during death. This, of course, is devastating and we lost precious memories that were never made due to being apart.
We not only lost loved ones to COVID-19 but also cancer, natural death, and accidents without being able to kiss them on the forehead one last time due to fear and hospital regulations.
Now I feel we recognize the importance of spending time with family and not procrastinating, knowing we might soon be in a similar situation again with little notice.
- I love to hug my mother and smell her beautiful scent.
- I love to sit by my brother and hear what he’s been up to.
- I love to see my stepdad’s belly laugh.
- I love to watch my nephew show me his new toys and feel his excitement.
Being in the same space is incredibly valuable because of all the senses that help me to remember our precious time together.
It’s funny and nostalgic when you listen to a certain song and it immediately teleports you to a memory. You notice how you felt, you remember who you were with, and it’s like you are physically there again.
I value my friendships deeply and only have friends that I feel are quality friends, which means that they are like family to me. We share our accomplishments, the amazing things going on in our lives, and the things we are struggling with. I feel safe to share these things with my friends because of what we created within our friendship. It was painful not being able to be in the same space as them. During COVID, we didn’t carve out time like we used to for lunch or even a phone call because we didn’t realize how long the pandemic was going to last. A year and then two passed in the blink of an eye. When we were finally able to be in each others’ presence I realized I had been desperate for that connection all along.
When we got together again, it was like a reunion! We all decided to meet over dinner and drinks and it was beautiful, loud, and fun! It was exactly what I needed to feel like family again. By the end of that night, a weight had been lifted and we were back to some kind of normal, at least our new normal.
Now that we are aware of how precious our time is with each other, I hope we stop taking it for granted that personal connections are powerful. We are now working a little bit from home and a little at the office, cherishing each moment with our loved ones because we have no idea what may happen tomorrow. We are being more intentional with our time. Some of us had time to reflect on our lives and completely changed careers, bought a home, or started to foster children. Since COVID-19, we really took the time to do what’s been on our hearts and followed through.
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