I recently had a conversation with a friend of mine about my fear of going crazy while being stuck at home. I shared how I thought my relationships would suffer both from distance and from familiarity. Will it be hard to reconnect if I spend 2 months not being able to see this person? Will my relationship with my parents turn sour if I spend the next 2 months under their nose and in their house?
As I presented to her my Thursday spiral, she offered me an alternative and pointed out that self-isolation is not a punishment, but a tool. Yes - in this case - it is a tool of protection, but it also has the power to be a tool for personal growth. This forced isolation (along with the limited access it creates to everyone through new responsibilities, greater distractions, more sleep, etc.) has created an opening for us all to naturally and respectfully kick people out of our lives.
Not where you thought I was going… stay with me.
Relationships can be hard and not all of them are meant to last forever. The choice to remove someone from your inner circle can be painful and messy. The timing is never right. Except for now. Why not take advantage of this forced distance and transition toxic people out of your life? Use this time to reassess how close you’ve let certain people get to you and if that proximity is bringing you joy. And once you’ve sized up all your insta-besties, size up yourself.
Be still and be cognizant of the quietness that comes your way. Is someone taking space from you? Are your phone calls not being answered, text messages going unread? Before you assume that they’re dead with “The Rona” - because who could be avoiding YOU - take a second and consider that perhaps they need time. So now what? What does that mean? How do you feel and where does the responsibility lie to accept truth or fight for love? Taking stock of your relationships means that you also examine how you’ve shown up in other people's lives, asking yourself the hard questions and preparing yourself for the truth.
But you also have a chance to reshape relationships that aren’t rooted in choice.
During this time, I have spent almost all of my time at my parents house with my niece and it has completely shifted how I see my “nuclear unit." I’ve noticed how I view my parent’s 40-year relationship. I’ve taken notes on how I see myself behaving as a “parent” around a 6-year-old whom I’m responsible for. I’ve questioned how I communicate as an adult child with opinions and opinionated parents. But I’ve also started to wrap my mind around what unconditional love and true partnership looks like.
Between the 3 of us, we own 5+ businesses. I won’t speak for them, but I know that my business has been hit by this new way of living. And with my brother living in NYC, having older relatives in various states of health and in various parts of the country, this truly is a stressful time. And yet, I have found my parents to be more patient, more affectionate, less judgemental and overall calmer. I have found myself to be less anxious, more grounded and at times, incredibly driven and inspired.
While I’d like to think that my familial unit is simply experiencing a bit of personal growth, I’m realizing that we are reducing, not growing. We are shedding our thick skin and going back to our natural state. Without the hustle and bustle of the outside world, without options, appointments and the luxury of freedom, we are more careful around each other because we are more conscious. We know that no matter what is said or done, we can’t leave. We know that the world is going through a scary time and that we are immensely blessed to have a home, food, security and our health. When the very fiber of your life is illuminated as a precious resource, you wake up every morning immediately hit with your own sense of gratitude and perspective, and it changes how you move in the world.
How curious that a life led by gratitude and anchored with caution, care and awareness of others, allows for love to ascend and peace to reign. One can only hope that when all this is over, we don’t go back to the bullshit.