The COVID Pandemic Forever Changed Me -
I used to love people.
I loved spending time with them in large groups, small groups, one on one, you name it. I welcomed anyone to my office, my home, my orbit, my world. And today? After a year of solitude, I want nothing to do with them. People haven’t changed — Humanity is the same as it always was.
The problem is me.
I’ve spent the last year in the contemplative state, looking at my life and really getting clear on what is important. Friends and family are important. Relationships are important. Especially the ones that nourish and give hope and love and energy. But being separated from others for this year has made me look at my own energy — to see what needed to be healed: Where was I depending on others to do for me what I wasn’t doing for myself?
Where was I getting distracted by pretty, shiny objects, instead of focusing on the seemingly unsexy process of soul contemplation?
Now that I’ve had this prolonged pause, I’m not sure I’m up to going back into the teeming sea of humanity. Will I ever again enjoy large crowds for a festival, a stadium seat or even a crowded beach? Today, I prefer my solitude. With my thoughts — my own voice. No one to clamor over me.
I “rediscovered” myself during the pandemic.
I realized through the silence that I actually enjoyed reading, doing puzzles and writing. Whereas I used to love to listen to others, today, I just want to listen to my own inner heartbeat. I want to write about things for no other reason except they bring me joy to do so.
In some ways, returning to life with others is scary. (And this whole handshake thing? Are we really going back to that? Don’t even get me started on my newfound germaphobia!) Still, I am slowly dipping my toe into the cold water of larger crowds and meeting outside with larger groups of friends and strangers. I feel like a rehab patient slowly returning to life — a car hesitantly entering a highway. I’m scared, but curious. Will I ever go back to enjoying crowds again? Will I become the extrovert I used to be?
Or, Is this the new me, a realer version of who I was always becoming?
The pandemic has forever changed me — I no longer find I need the distraction or get the ‘high’ I used to from being around others. And I’m okay with that. Because nothing stays the same. And one day, when I emerge from my own self-imposed cocoon, maybe I will seek the world once again. Until then, I remain happily alone.