Dear anyone that may feel more anxiety because the world is starting to open up from the pandemic,
I was a social distancer before it was in style. First let me say, I mean no disrespect or disregard toward the importance of social distancing. I strongly support it to be safe and healthy during this pandemic. Although, I do think the word “social distancing”, the actual phonetic meaning is dumb. It is an oxymoron, confusing, unconscious play on words.
Social- come together Distance- move apart. = conjigal apartness!! WTF!
Me calling myself a social distancer reminds of when I contributed to an article on shy extroverts. In my opinion, another silly collaboration of words. As a shy extrovert like a social distancer, there is a part of you that sometimes likes to be around groups of people. There’s no denying that. But, that desire also comes along with dread, insecurity, and some serious butterflies (borderland nausea) in your tummy. It is like showing up for the world with a smile but feeling like your insides are curled in a tight ball. A social distancer may sometimes enjoy people watching and is totally cool with silence. They don’t feel the need to be constantly talking to fill up space, blowing smoke up your ass or have nonsense, superficial conversation.
Being a social distancer is not a problem. The problem becomes when there is self-judgement and you start thinking about what or how you should be doing life. So, if you start to see being a social distancer as a protective layer versus a bad thing, it will be a game changer. Then, no more being afraid to be transparent about not loving to be a social butterfly!
Being a social distancer makes me human and vulnerable, which therefore makes me connectable!
Anyway, let’s face it, in the midst of the fear and devastation of a pandemic, for some of us, or most of us who are social distancers there is peace and there is relief. The first day of the Coronavirus becoming a pandemic I received an email from a client I met with last year. He wrote, ”Is it weird or is there something wrong for me to feel the most peace I have ever felt?”. When I read what he wrote, I could totally relate. I understood what he was asking, and I got it.
While others became petrified not be able to leave the house, my thoughts were I WAS DESIGNED FOR THIS! This fits my mental model! Social distancing was a relief. I finally got to stay home with my kids without feeling guilt for not wanting to go to work. I received a permission slip, or more like a mandatory detention to stay home.
Step away from a pandemic and ask me what an ideal weekend day would look like… First, I would say to have my husband in town (which is a rarity because he is a federal agent and a reservist in the Navy- the pandemic has kept him home!). I would peacefully roll out of bed about 6 or 6:30 to exercise and get fresh air. Come back in to grab my human and furry children to go for a nice walk full of laughter, silliness, and connection with nature. Next would be hanging out in the house all day doing projects and in the afternoon riding bikes or swimming. We would eat all our meals at home together, make green shakes, grill for dinner, and my husband clean the dishes (he likes to do them)! Not much interaction with anyone or anything outside our “4 walls”. Not much social media searching, if any. The phone on the counter on silent. No concerns what to wear, who I should or should not be talking to or seeing. No feeling like I have to solve or save the world for the day. No obligatory social events or meetings. Hmmm, my ideal day sounds really familiar to a day in the life of a pandemic!
Look, I am not a total loner or sociopath. I just like what I like and I like my space. For most of my life I felt like the world did not beat to the same drum as mine. I spent many years, if not most years feeling like I did not fit in, only to learn it was not me that did not fit in with them, it was them that did not fit in with me.
So, yes, when there was a pandemic requiring social distancing there was a relief. With the announcements of things opening up and about “the new rules” changing, it brings anxiety and fear. I DON’T WANT TO COME OUT OF MY BUBBLE. I don’t’ want the unknowns or the pressure to start showing up in a different way. I don’t want to have to “make money” or not be with my kids. I don’t want to go back to life the way it was-busy, fast, and often disconnected.
Some (typically me) may say, “Keep your life the way you want it”. With things opening up, I feel how others felt when they were told they had to stay home. People say they like change. Do we? Because I just got used to this! It feels like when I go on vacation and it takes me several days to sink into my chill zone. Then, when I get really peaceful, it becomes time to start packing up to leave. I start to get fearful I will forget the “zen” experience. I worry to go back into life and all the awareness and self growth will be in vain. I even buy trinkets or make mixed music cds (remember those!!) to remind me of this time.
I get being a social distancer may not be seen as “normal” by others. It is a waste of time to should all over myself and feel guilty for actually thinking this way because I think I am not supposed to. But there is a softness to be hunkered up with my people and focused on what feels to me are the priorities, the basics, and the necessities.
Clearly this is all out of my hands and anyone’s. I will figure out a way to remember this adventure with out buying a stuffed Corona Bear! I can’t be the only one that feels this way. Can you relate? Are you a social distancer?
Your no bull-shiFt, mental fitness advising, expert Social Distancer, Dara