One of my biggest fears when faced with the current state of the world is the after-effects that will continue to linger within our society. For the longest time, we’ve been a society that tends to ignore the world around us. Unless we happen to be online, where most people suddenly become activists, politicians and armchair warriors who always seem to know better. But I digress…
There are many cultures around the world who have ALWAYS practiced social distancing, so the recent pandemic hasn’t create anything new. However, for the folks who haven’t done it before, social distancing may have effects that will take years to recover from. If you’re an outgoing person who enjoys being among the masses, suddenly being locked away in your home can have detrimental physical and emotional effects.
I’m sure you’ve all seen some of the memes and jokes online about social distancing; like the group of dads having beer in the street in a large circle, standing six feet apart. Social distancing has been blatantly difficult for some people to accept and maintain, despite its necessity in helping stem the current spread of COVID-19.
In fact, according to an online article posted by USA Today, large-scale social distancing is required in order to prevent the virus from running rampant and overwhelming the healthcare systems in respective countries, leading to large numbers of fatalities in the coming year. The article goes on to explain that we are nowhere near to ending social distancing and that we NEED to maintain it, in order to stem the propagation and bring an end to the pandemic. (https://www.usatoday.com/story/opinion/2020/03/26/coronavirus-pandemic-growing-too-fast-stop-social-distancing-column/5083173002/)
Despite this requirement, the need for everyone to come together has never been greater. Isolation, whether with family or alone, can involve a number of problems that we may not recognize before they become serious. Depression, hopelessness and the use of drugs and alcohol can become very real aspects to cope with the current state of self-isolation. It’s important to remember that there are a lot of ways, especially in today’s modern world of technology, to stay in touch and communicate with people, thereby maintaining social contact and preventing the dissolving of society.
This is one of the rare occasions where social media can be an asset. Although still a nasty source of false news, misinformation and a destructive means of sharing private information, social media’s ability to help people stay in contact despite long distances can’t be denied. I know that a number of my family members make use of Facebook and other means of online communication in order to stay in touch with friends and loved ones.
A handy tool that many people seem to forget about these days, is the telephone. What with texting and social media, most folks seem to forget that the plastic brick in their hands is actually intended as a means of verbal communication that was invented over 140 years ago!!! Despite the fact tat we live on opposite ends of the country, my mother and I speak by phone every few days, even if only to stay in touch (cue the mama’s boy jokes, here).
My point is that we need to ensure that we don’t begin to accept social distancing as the norm and begin to shy away from in-person contact with each other. It may be necessary in the here and now, but when the smoke clears and the pandemic is over, we will need to rebuild social bridges and allow ourselves the benefit of each other’s company. The worst thing that could come out of all this, is to survive it all just to become xenophobic against society for fear of what else may happen. After all, there will be a lot of work to do once every steps back out into the sunlight; and we’ll need each other more than we probably understand. ☯