March of 2020: The whole world shut down. And we waited. And waited. We cleaned out our hall closets and our junk drawers. We baked banana bread. And more banana bread. We read books and marveled at how enriching and vital that is. We went outside. People spent time with their kids. Some people marveled at how much more relaxed they were and how happy their kids were. No longer scurrying from one activity to another without really taking time to enjoy each one.
Yes, it was stressful. I lost friends and family, too. My wonderful, gregarious, and restless neighbor fretted about not being able to spend time with crowds of people. But, surely you remember how many people vowed to spend more time doing the things they loved. People took a deep breath. They reevaluated their worship of busyness. Workaholics vowed to spend less time working and more time living. Parents promised not to overschedule their kids. The Danish term hyggae was batted about. Hyggae is a feeling of contentment and coziness. It’s about spending time with family and friends in a relaxed atmosphere.
Then the world reopened. We could go places again, restaurants, stores, sporting events. Adults went back to work. Kids went back to school. And suddenly, everyone was busy. They had to catch up. They had things to DO. And calendars filled up. Where does the time go?
I have great friends. I’m more of a “has many friendly acquaintances and a few, very close friends” kind of person. And I work at home, so I know my reality is different than most of the people I know. But my friends overall are so BUSY. Committee meetings, kids’ extracurricular activities, STUFF. I have a few dear friends who mean a lot to me. I know they value our friendship. But they’re so busy, I never see them. I swear it wasn’t like that as much before the pandemic. We try to schedule getting together, but they end up having to cancel. There’s just so much to DO. What. Happened?
I think that in some ways, people are seeking to restore what we previously had. The new normal is scary. Covid isn’t going away. And people struggling with mental health issues is at an all time high. I’m not minimizing the physical and psychological damage Covid created, believe me. Perhaps filling our lives with meetings and events is an attempt to feel that the world is back together, after watching it fall apart for two years. I miss my friends, but I understand in many ways.