There’s a war brewing on social media these days. No, not the war on COVID-19, I t’s the war of the homebodies vs the socialites and the introverts vs the extroverts… me vs my brother.
As one side laments their restaurants being closed, their sport seasons ending and their casinos going dark, the other side is quick to remind everyone that they didn’t go out to those things anyway so now maybe everyone can learn to love the joy of a tabletop game of Pandemic at home.
The truth is, this is an unprecedented time in history. We have not seen closures on this scale in First World countries during this modern, internet connected era. People are shocked and stressed about the premature end to their favorite sports season because they’ve never seen something like this happen. For many of us, the only situations that come close to this in our lifetimes are natural disasters and maybe 9/11 but those had relatively limited impact to day to day life and normalcy on a global level.
I happen to sit at an intersection of this social landscape. As an adult, I’ve made many decisions that have well prepared me for this time. I have a home gym, I can work from home and all the entertainment I need can be enjoyed at home. I’ve never really loved social gatherings and so cancelations and closures really don’t impact me personally all that much. I have many friends and family who live far away so most of my social life has been through messaging and video apps like Marco Polo. We even have a chest freezer full of grass-fed and locally sourced meat that we buy straight from the farm. The main impact for me was the school closures and I’ve been fortunate with that as well. The closure doesn’t include daycares at this time and our two year old’s daycare has allowed back-up care for our school age child. I have a good income and can afford the extra cost. I didn’t know it, but I managed to build a life perfectly suited for a lock down. So, I understand where the homebodies are coming from, it feels like everyone else is suddenly waking up to the type of life we’ve lived for years.
That being said, I can understand what the other side is feeling too. I come from a long line of very socially extroverted people. My father is an NBA season ticket holder who loves to travel. My older brother loves sports, and hanging out in bars and restaurants to enjoy time with his friends. He lived in Las Vegas for many years and so seeing casinos go dark, sporting seasons end and then local restaurants, bars, gyms and more close has been shocking to him.
The truth is, it really isn’t about the closures or how social you were before this. Sure, it’s fun to laugh at the idea that the life you’ve been living for years is now being called “quarantine” but it really isn’t about that at all. It’s about the existential fear we all have at our core all the time suddenly being very apparent to all of us.
As humans, we naturally turn to entertainment to distract us from the ever present pain of old age, sickness and death. In tribal times, we gathered around the fire and told stories. Today, we gather in a bar to cheer the local team or around a table for a dungeon delve. Now, because of COVID-19, many of our high profile distractions have been closed or canceled. Now, on a societal level, we are being forced to stare the pain of old age, sickness and death in the face on a daily basis. But, the truth is, it was always there, hiding behind the bread and circuses.
Whether you’re a homebody like me or a social butterfly like my brother, the present moment is a refuge from fear and pain. Now, more than ever, it is time to focus on what you do have today and what you can do, rather than your fears and what being taken from you.
You are here now, reading this. Maybe the sun is shining outside, maybe there is a storm. Maybe your loved one is sick or maybe they are healthy. You have this moment and can decide to see the good in it right now.
I am so glad I stumbled across this post. I really relate to what you’ve called “sitting at the intersection of this social landscape.” At the beginning of this quarantine, I felt like I’d spent my life in preparation for just this kind of time – but the other day, it hit me; I’m not staying in by choice… and while I’ve been better prepared for isolation than my more outgoing friends, I’m not ready for this at all. Been having quite a few sleepless nights lately. Your post was just what I needed!