More Social Than You Think?

Ever ask yourself, how social am I? In person social contact has taken on a new dimension these days given our expiring ‘shelter at home’ orders and phased re-openings. So now what have we learned about ourselves after being forced to social distance?

Before this, most people prized their alone time. Indeed, a certain TED talk made a compelling case that from time to time you not only needed to be alone but also needed to be bored for the sake of your mental health. And, per that talk, boredom is also necessary for your creativity. In my case, I can confirm that some of my best ideas for fiction have come when my mind can wander either by doing a mindless task or just contemplating my navel, figuratively speaking.

After a couple of months of isolation I’m guessing there has been no shortage of loneliness and boredom. Had any brilliant revelations? Maybe you have, maybe you haven’t but I’ll bet you’ve had enough alone time. I’ve had to admit to myself that I miss the company of people. Even one of my wife’s company get-togethers would be a welcome change. I used to live in fear that I’d get stuck exchanging small talk with a large group of her co-workers that I wouldn’t know but who would know each other. With mixed results I’d agonize over adding some witty rejoinder to the conversation while attempting to fit in with the group. Good times!

The other day, given the relaxing restrictions, I met a neighbor and then my sister for almost two hours combined. The social interaction used neural pathways that had lain dormant for months. It was exhausting. Before further re-integration I learned that it’s important to pace ourselves.

So with that word of warning, bring on the store clerks, pharmacists, hair stylists, dental hygienists and anyone willing to talk to you. Family too. If you’re desperate. I can’t wait to interact again even with all the cumbersome precautions.

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