We all went through it.
As we try now to return to some sort of normalcy, that’s the one aspect of the coronavirus experience that somehow gets lost: almost every Earthling that lived through the calendar year 2020 had their life changed battling Covid-19.
We have that in common. All of us. Every person you see or walk past in your daily activities experienced some sort of confusion or concern during the worst of the virus.
It should have brought us all closer together. They say that shared experiences are a bonding agent. That’s why team building exercises exist.
But it doesn’t seem to have worked that way. Instead, people are going out into the world again with a “me against you’’ attitude. Oddly, even though this is the one experience shared by the greatest number of people ever, it turns out that time spent alone increased selfishness.
We need to get back to being pleasant social animals. And it can begin on our playgrounds, where children are now remembering what normal life was like. If the kids can’t get along, what hope do adults have?
The Impact of Quarantining
It may be years before any true research is completed regarding the impact of quarantining on society, but there is no ignoring the fact that many people suffered from isolation. Even those who had family members with them the entire time suffered from a lack of changing social experiences. They saw the same people every day, and spent 12-18 months without the normal social encounters they experienced prior to the pandemic.
A scientific study conducted in Italy and Spain found that during the quarantine, children showed difficulty concentrating, boredom, irritability, restlessness, nervousness, loneliness, uneasiness and worries as a result of their time spent living at home, and only at home.
It is likely that adults suffered many of the same effects, but were better than children at hiding their discomfort.
But, now, we are all getting together again. Although there are still issues to deal with, there is a sense that we have made it through. We should be celebrating together. Instead, we seem to be maintaining our quarantined personalities as we venture out.
We should be celebrating our post-pandemic lives together.
When children gather today, let them know it is OK to share slides and jungle gyms and bridges and tunnels on playgrounds. If you want them to continue to practice social distancing, that’s fine. That doesn’t mean they should treat other children as if they have Covid. Just like your children, other children experienced the loneliness of the quarantine. If the outside world is now available for your children, it is available for other children as well.
Two Topics to Remember
There are two popular precepts which carried weight before the pandemic and are even more important in today’s world. Please consider them when you are out and about.
- The Golden Rule: “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you” has always seemed like a nice approach to life, but it has doubled in importance since we all experienced time away from each other. As we resume normal interactions, it is recommended that we treat friends and strangers with the respect we would want to receive from them. If we are indeed entering a brave new world, this is a good idea to practice from the outset.
- Walk a mile in my shoes: It is true that everyone was impacted by the quarantine – the isolation, the social distancing, the lack of human interaction. What is also true is that everyone was impacted differently. You may want to be out hugging everyone you see, just to have that warm experience again, but others are wary of contact, more so than ever before. Shaking hands is now a thing of the past, but keep in mind that everyone you meet went through…. something…. and you don’t know what they went through. In some ways, we were all asleep for a while, and everyone wakes up differently.
Do you feel like we sort of started over somehow, that life completed a restart when we were given permission to venture back out into the real world? Maybe so.
But if we are starting over, that means we can be good to each other from the outset. If we are starting over, we have a chance to do things the correct way. We have a shared experience! We went through a very bad time, together. We should be able to come out of it together as well.