I haven’t written a blog post in nearly two years, because I lost my voice. I couldn’t think of anything to say. It seemed that perhaps Tinkering With Success had run its course. But the last 16 days at home have given me time to think…and time to write. This post will be a little different than previous ones, but like the others, it comes from my heart.
I am social by nature. When something good happens to me, I tell everyone who will listen. When something is troubling me, I talk to lots of people, not for sympathy, but to find a solution through talking it out.
Well here I sit, Safe-At-Home, as ordered by the Governor, due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Me, my sweetheart, and our dog. At home. By ourselves.
On day one of this stay home, work from home situation, I thought “Woohoo, I can finally be home for a while. Yes I have to work, but I’ll be home. No commute. No interruptions while I work on a project. Lunch is less than 20 feet away and I can throw in a load of laundry during my bathroom breaks. This is going to be awesome.”
Well it is now day 16 of this stay home, work from home situation and I have learned a few things. Pull up a chair, because this social butterfly has some things to tell you.
I miss the students. I miss my tribe at work. Oh and I REALLY miss Chick-fil-a. It was one floor down from my office. Sixty seconds from tasty chicken nuggets and their special sauce. *big sigh* But I digress.
I have adjusted to working from home and I find that I like it…A LOT. I do miss the face-to-face interaction with my colleagues, but thanks to Zoom, I can still see their faces and their facial reactions when communicating. What this time at home has allowed me to do, is rethink how I work while searching for ways to serve students differently. I, like many people, have been providing service delivery the same way for a while. Though I changed the content, the delivery was typically in person, where I could see their faces and gauge their reactions.
I can’t SEE people now. I can’t read their faces. I can’t tell if my humor is well received or just politely tolerated. I have to rethink my methods of communication, so that I can engage students using the methods and media with which they are most comfortable.
Those same thoughts also apply to the people in my personal social circle. I can’t SEE my lifelong family and friends, my gym pals who have become my family, the manager at my favorite Mexican restaurant, or the stranger I speak with when buying groceries. And sadly, I can’t safely attend my friend’s funeral.
This pandemic has really caused me to rethink how I connect with others. Why? Because never in my wildest dreams did I think I would be told to STAY AWAY from people.
Social distancing really means physical distancing. It doesn’t mean stop talking to people. It means speak to people, just do it differently. Call someone instead of texting. Make a thoughtful comment on a social media post instead of clicking “Like” and scrolling on by. It means smiling at someone you pass at a distance to say “I SEE you and I understand that we are all managing the best way we can.”
Last night, I was sitting on the sofa and I realized that I was happy. I mean really happy…”every cell in my body” happy. At first I thought it was because I didn’t have to interact with difficult people on a daily basis, but that’s not it. I am happy, because my social interactions have become more intentional and meaningful. I am blessed to be ABLE to communicate with people. I don’t take social connection for granted any more.
During this odd time in our lives, there are people staying at home, who truly have little to no social communication. Not because they choose it, but because it is what we all have to do to keep everyone healthy. Think about those people you know who might be weathering this pandemic alone or with circumstances that make them feel alone. They need us to SEE them.
Our world is forever changed by this virus, much like the wars did to our ancestors. We now have a chance to make our corner of the world a better place. Let’s all commit to doing that through reinventing how we communicate with others so that both introverts and social butterflies can be seen, heard and appreciated for the unique and wonderful people they are.
Tinkering With Success encourages self-improvement. Life is short. Find a way to reach out and make your social circle a little more friendly.