Simple Steps You Can Take for a Better Life Now and in the Future
How to practice and rediscover the art of human connection
More than ever, I appreciate the common everyday stuff of the past.
Dinner with a friend, grocery shopping, going to the movies, listening to music, even going out without a mask. The good news is that time never stops moving, so someday the COVID-19 pandemic will also be a thing of our past.
But what I’m most grateful for are those friends in my life who have reached out to me. They’ve helped me keep my head above water and provided a social network.
A friend has organized a standing Zoom Quarantine Party on Fridays at 7:30 p.m. that I look forward to all week. She even invested in a Zoom Pro account so we can talk indefinitely. And we talk for hours. It’s given me back that social weekend feeling that we normally look forward to all week.
It’s great to see familiar faces and hear familiar voices checking in to make sure we’re all still amongst the living. I am honored that they think of me and I want to pay it forward.
I have the time.
What am I waiting for?
The Experience of Learning to Be Happy
I’m not waiting. I’m reaching out. I am no more or less miserable than most. And hey, life is all about sharing.
As M. Scott Peck says in The Road Less Traveled, “The sooner we get used to the fact that life is hard, the happier we’ll be.”
Expecting life not to be hard sets us up for disappointment. We’re supposed to struggle and learn and become the best versions of ourselves.
Our biggest test is here. And as they say in my neck of the woods life can be “Wicked hard!” But if we reach out, not only will we ease a wicked hard time for others, we won’t be alone.
And a difficult time will be less difficult.
So I’m making it a point to check up on people and take that moment to say, “Hello. How are you?” And I’ve been getting a lot of honest answers. I, then, get a chance to do a little sharing of my own.
We are happy for a moment, but at least it is a moment. And even a brief interchanged can fortify us and help us get through all the other moments. Ones where we feel frightened and alone.
Yes, find a way to make lemonade.
Then share it.
Make a communication schedule.
Still wallowing a bit? So am I. Let’s wallow together.
But let’s stop licking our wounds for just a moment and breathe.
The way I see life is — we are here for a reason. A positive fallout of COVID-19 is that it’s forcing us to value one another. It’s revealing that we need one another more than our things. That we are hardwired to communicate, to touch and connect, physically as well as virtually.
We can’t do much about the physical aspect right now, but we can certainly use technology to share ideas and a little camaraderie. Begin by making a list of people to contact.
Your Phone is the Answer
It all begins with your phone.
1/ Go to “Contacts”
Chances are you’ve acquired a collection of names, numbers, and e-mail addresses. If you’re like me, there are several who may even be a bit obsolete, collecting dust. We just haven’t kept up the lines of communication.
Hey, we all lose touch through no fault of ours or the other person’s. Life just has a way of moving on and pulling us along in its wake.
But the busyness has slowed to a crawl. No more excuses.
Save that name.
2/ Make a list of these folks.
Decide who you’d like to reconnect with. They could be old college buddies or co-workers.
What about your hairdresser? Massage therapist? What I wouldn’t give for a massage! I’ll bet they’re feeling as if they’re in a vice grip at this point. Why not reach out and tell them you’ve been thinking of them?
How about a childhood friend?
Your first crush. Go ahead, be brave!
3/ Make a schedule.
Now that you’ve decided who, decide when and how many people you’ll contact per day. Spread it out over a few days. This isn’t a race, so take your time.
Factor in the chance that you may actually have a conversation with someone. Maybe decide what you’re going to say.
Go down your list one name at a time.
Then don’t hesitate. Just do it.
Put a checkmark next to that name.
4/ Organize a Zoom Quarantine Party or Reunion
Now that you’ve made contact, why not organize your own virtual, aka Zoom Quarantine Party? Some people may want to talk more and catch up.
It can be a high school or college reunion or maybe a party with people who have never actually met one another. Think of the stories you can share.
Or play charades.
Or listen to music. Maybe dance.
Spice up your Friday or Saturday night at home, especially if you live alone. Invite some familiar faces into your home for a couple of hours. It’s something to look forward to, and without schedules, it will be a welcome change for many.
I have two scheduled this week and I’ve been looking forward to them.
Prepare and be ready
Think of this as a time of waiting-it-out and make preparation so that we can move forward.
I’m guessing that in the future, we’ll no longer see people in restaurants together looking at their phones. They’ll be looking at one another, fully present. That during rush hour, when we’re all uncomfortably herded into a train, that we’ll have conversations.
This is practice time.
Learning to reconnect will help us reprogram as the social beings we were always meant to be. And it will give us a new appreciation for personal contact.
We are starving for human physical contact. So when we resume some semblance of normal, I’m guessing the new normal will be better than the old.
I want a world that is more connected, less harsh and judgemental, more optimistic. A world where we can see ourselves in one another. And we are moving toward that.
We are on the same path in this life and I believe more than ever; we know this.
So we should reach out and put our best out there while things are at their worst. In the days ahead, this will make a powerful difference.
Marilyn Regan is a writer, blogger, yogi and spiritual medium. She is an avid reader and animal lover who lives on the ocean with her cats. To read more of her writing, please go to: www.medium.com/@marilynregan.