Funny that this photo should pop up today in my “memories” on a few of my social media platforms. It was my privilege to work with Emma Doyle for a couple of years. I learned so much from her but one lesson always comes to mind, especially in these challenging times, how to switch your thoughts and work with tough life lessons.
For example when you are trying to change your language or re word a thought, it’s not moving out day, it is moving on day! Or trying to understand where was the lesson in being turned down for a job? What did I learn and what can I learn from others and adapt to me, and who I am? Just some of the ideas I try to use especially coping with relationships, and in particular, in these times of challenging distancing.
These ideas did get me thinking about this whole distance thing, it is so tough, separated from family and friends, especially when it comes to realising who you miss the most (for the purposes of this Blog, family is a given missed connection). Perhaps, switching that thought, that lockdown is a huge time-out that we can re evaluate what and, who is important might help us to cope with the fact that much of our lives had to come to an emergency stop. It felt like the brakes got slammed on our relationships both old, new and potential. So I guess all of this made me ask the questions …
- Does absence make the heart grow fonder or do things just seem more or less possible from a distance?
- Can we maintain a reality through virtuality without projecting a one sided, perceived ideal, in other words reading more into it than there is?
- If we can’t actually be with someone for coffee, pizza or gin should that make the relationship harder to maintain or is it a test of a real connection that it can survive virtually?
In this time of separation so many have reconnected virtually, whether that is a good thing or not is most definitely a personal opinion. Me? Yes for some but I find it is taking a lot of emotional effort to stay sane without my daily trips to University, my West End lattes and my daily shoogle on the Glasgow Subway so I have to admit to being very cautious about filling my life with connections from the past I no longer feel I need. Sound harsh? Well just think about that one destructive relationship/friendship you worked so hard to get over and now because you are stuck at home binge watching old episodes of Friends with a bottomless bag of Doritos, you suddenly feel nostalgic and that little niggle of a thought of “well he/she wasn’t sooo bad” creeps in followed by you lifting up your phone to see if you still have their number.
A friend of mine had started a relationship about three months before COVID began. The usual first dates were followed by a weekend away and things seemed to be moving in the right direction. Then she discovered he was till seeing other women so she broke it off, cried her way through most of Ben and Jerry’s stock of Phish Food and eventually stopped staring at Whatsapp waiting for those magic words XXX is typing. Then Covid struck, she got stuck in London away from home and one week in, yep you guessed it, XXX started typing. He was also away from home and for some reason thought of her (yeh I know), they started chatting again and had some “great laughs” virtually but all of a sudden his “connection” became bad, his laptop started to shut down mid chat and in general he stopped calling using the excuse of the strain on the hotel’s WiFi during lockdown. Cue restocking of Ben and Jerry!!!!
So again I ask was the absence making the heart grow fonder that she decided to start “chatting again”? Did that “he wasn’t so bad” niggle get in there? Or was it just the fact that these times are causing many of us to accept things we would never normally allow?
Perhaps, as I said, we should re name lockdown as time-out! Clean out that address book, remove temptation and most of all, realise that you can leave that “Hi, how are you doing … was just thinking of you” message unanswered unless, of course, you are prepared to cope with reality when this virtuality ends
Stay Safe, Stay Home, Stay Healthy