Last night my wife told me that I am a social butterfly. I lay in bed, my nose in a book, considering her comment.
Before COVID I may have been an extrovert who leapt at any opportunity to hook up with friends or to attend community events. However, since the pandemic began I’ve played it safe and avoided others as if they. . .well, have the plague.
I’ve become more content being on my own. A notebook, something good to read or watch, or my computer have become my companions, aside from my patient and wonderful nuclear family.
I’ve evolved from the social butterfly I once was and returned to the cocoon. . .at least that’s what I tell myself.
In a way my wife is right though. I’ve been bottling up feelings brought on by lack of contact over the past half year. As I’ve reflected on her words I recognize how much I’m really missing.
Foremost I miss my family. I miss my mother who typically visits a couple times a year, but has yet to be able to come to Colorado in 2020. I miss my cousins and uncles and aunts. I miss all my oldest friends back in New Jersey, who I usually visit every summer. It doesn’t look like I’ll be seeing any of them until next year at least, aside from the occasional video call.
I also miss my local friends. Social gatherings that regularly occurred through years past have all been cancelled. No barbeques. No parties. No meeting new babies or seeing friends that usually come back home from out of town to see everyone.
I’ve been missing my favorite local businesses too. I haven’t visited Austin at Austin’s Barber Shop since February. My hair game is definitely missing him. I haven’t enjoyed a Flatiron’s Coffee made by Melissa or Adam or any of the amazing baristas there. I haven’t sat down for a hot Chinese food lunch served by the Chens at Golden Sun either. I miss all the fantastic in-person experiences I’ve come to appreciate over the years, but haven’t felt comfortable enough to return to yet.
I don’t write this Moving On Minute to complain. I’m not looking for tiny violin music or a pity party from anyone. I recognize mostly everyone feels the same as I do.
I wanted to share my emotions and thoughts with all the many people who make up my outstanding social butterfly network. I care about each and every one of them, even if I haven’t seen or told them in some time.
I also hoped to inspire others to reflect and consider their feelings as well. It’s important not to bottle up unhealthy emotions like loneliness and sadness. There are always people in each of our lives who are willing to listen and will be there for us, even if it’s not with their physical presence.
Each of us is still neck-deep in the uncertainty and anxiety of the new abnormal. We’ve never experienced anything like it before, but our networks are still there. As we come to understand solitude more intimately than ever, we must remind ourselves to vocalize what the people in our lives mean to us. They need to hear it and we need to say it.
We will get out this ridiculous mess one day, and it’s going to be a lot easier to get there together.