I never thought this would happen to me. Anyone who has met me for 5 minutes or known me for a lifetime would never hesitate to call me an extrovert. And, I would agree. I thrive on social interaction and my brain synapses shift into full gear when around other people. At least that’s been my experience for 99% of my life. So how did I become so lazy about creating social interactions for myself?
The answer is, I’m out of practice and the new quiet routine of not socializing during this “stay-at-home” Covid time has become what we are now used to. I never would have guessed that I would have come to embrace this new pace and relished our alone time each evening as we have tucked into binge-worthy shows. I never thought less social interaction could become so appealing.
I tend to want to explain my new stay-at-home contentment with some pretty phenomenal escapism. I want to thank Diana Galbadon, the author of Outlander, for her dreamy characters, Jamie and Claire who have become my husband and my favorite people to hang out with. Outlander is an epic story which if full of great sex, intrigue, historical fiction and a fantastic time-travel storyline. I am so smitten with Jamie, and my husband with Claire (well I like Claire too), I often find myself talking with a Scottish lilt or is it a brogue, which I’ve become quite good at.
On March 9th when my husband and I began our retreat into Covid-defined behaviors I thought I had been put on the worst “time-out” ever. How could he and I spend every night together for who knows how long? Would our marriage survive it? Without the distractions of my girlfriends and dinner’s out, would I just crawl under the covers and hibernate until someone rang a bell to announce that it was safe to come out?
Well, after almost 12 weeks, the bell has rung. Olly Olly Oxen Free. But is it really time/safe to truly come out? Well, my husband and I are in the cautious camp and have only had outdoor visits with one other couple at a time so far. Everyone has their own comfort zone with their readiness to start socializing. And, this is all a function of how we are interpreting the news and experts who appear to be winging it, to our mind. But hey, we don’t judge anyone and prefer not to be judged either. But we like easing into the socializing because we now have limited socializing stamina.
After a flurry of zoom dates in the first 6 weeks of stay-at-home, my husband and I got zoom fatigue. We loved seeing our friends and were thrilled to be invited to zoom birthday events but quickly felt disconnected from socializing on the screen if there were more than 2 couples. Our favorite zoom visits have been with just one couple as we are all fully focused and engaged. There’s no dipping our eyes onto our Iphones to check our text messages. It’s been a relief to lay that sucker down.
Now that the word “open” has been come shorthand for meeting up at a coffee shop or strolling down main street and checking out a store or two, my husband and I have remained somewhat closed.
But the biggest change is, I can’t even imagine what a big gathering would feel like at this point. I think we would be super uncomfortable. And after a visit with our dear friends for cocktails on our deck at 10 feet apart, we were totally Ok with keeping the visit to 2 hours. We were out of socializing practice. Two hours with friends on the one hand felt perfect, and on the other hand, we were pooped and ready to call it a night. We hadn’t “put out” that much social energy in almost three months and we need some time to ramp it up.
So as we begin to embrace more social behavior we are thinking we will make sure to schedule in our time alone as that has turned to be the real silver lining of this “time out.”