I’ve always thought of myself as a classic introvert.
I’m perfectly content spending time on my own. I need space to recharge after social events. I often find large gatherings overwhelming.
And yet… I’ve been social distancing for just over two weeks now, and I miss being around other people. Really miss it.
(For context: I’m living with my parents and brother while I save for a flat deposit, and I’m very glad to be with them while the coronavirus pandemic is happening. By other people, I mean my extended family, my friends, and my co-workers.)
It hit me the first time my friends and I did our first group video call, where we spent a lot of time saying how weird everything was. And it really hit me yesterday when we had an all-company Google Hangout, and I was delighted to hear familiar voices that didn’t belong to my close family. Not that I don’t love them!
Normally, I would split my week between the following: office, working from home, gym, pub/pub quiz with friends, walks, something fun at the weekend, and downtime. Having downtime has always been important to me, because I don’t function very well when I’m tired and drained—I get ratty and want to eat everything in sight. But take away most of those activities, and there’s not much to recover from in the first place.
I’m not complaining that we have to social distance. The sooner everyone stays inside, the sooner things will go back to normal, although I don’t think things will ever be quite the same. Even if we’re not vulnerable, we have a duty to protect those who are.
What I’m trying to say is that in my eagerness to class myself as an introvert, I didn’t realise just how important good company is to me. The evenings spent hooting with laughter in the pub when my friends and I puzzle our way through that week’s quiz. A meal shared with loved ones. Chats in the kitchen at work (a welcome break in the day). Getting a lift from one of my co-workers and catching up on what’s going on in their lives. Seeing my aunts when they’ve got time, and having cuddles with the dog. I won’t be taking these things for granted again.
I mean, I’m sure there’ll come a day when someone will say “Remember when we were on lockdown?!” and it’ll feel like a distant memory. But I’d like to think that this time will make us appreciate everyday life that little bit more*.
How are you finding life on lockdown? Let me know in the comments.
*And I also hope that this time means the NHS and its workers get the funding they need, and supposedly ‘low-skilled’ workers get the respect and salaries they deserve. They’re essential and should be compensated as such.
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Beth, 26, South East England.
Lover of books, dogs, yoga, travelling, and gin. Always thinking about my next meal.
I write about ethical & eco-friendly living, minimalism, and mental health, as I muddle through one step at a time. Enjoy!