Social distance: it ain’t all suffering

Raymund used to think Gina, his stay at home partner, was a whiner for complaining about how hard it was to take care of their two kids and keep up with the housework. After 4 weeks working at home, he is ready to hire Gina an assistant once this thing blows over. Sasha has never been more productive now that she isn’t being interrupted constantly by co-workers. She has lowered her dose of Adderall and is no longer grumpy at 4 PM every day.

People are certainly suffering, and from the posts I see from many behavioral health professionals, one might think that staying at home is itself some kind of social disease. I want to expand that perspective a little and suggest that (without regard to the damage caused by not being able to access basic needs) staying at home to work and having limited time for physical social engagement may be benefiting as many people as it is demoralizing. It may even be benefiting the people who are the most demoralized in ways that won’t become apparent until the restrictions have been lifted for awhile.

Let’s call it post-COVID growth.

In a world where the pace of the economy is instant, stock-markets can crash and recover in milliseconds, mobile phones mean we are never away from the desk, and having “likes” counted is social currency in the bank, what we may actually need is a little more social distance.

Gertrude has not experienced road rage, once a daily occurance, in a month. She discovered the podcast 99% Invisible and has been learning about the hidden world of art, design, and architecture. She’s thinking about going back to school.

For the very first time, Bill had a conversation with his 8-year-old son about what he actually does at work. Now his son asks him questions about his day.

Space to reflect. Breaths to acknowledge. Accidental interests to flourish. Thoughts to get out of. Time to read more than just two minute blurbs like this.

This is going to change our world, and a lot of that is going to be marvelous!

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