We all knew it was coming, but it still felt like a shock: the news that New Zealand is shutting down for the next four weeks to try and curb the spread of COVID-19. I’d been planning a little, running some scenarios through my head, but my brain was still left spinning when I understood that once I got the kids home that day, we were home for the duration. Of course, my first thought was to assess our supply of library books – only natural right? For a panicked moment I thought the library had already closed, but praise God we managed to get there before they closed, and boy did we stock up.
Because, let’s be honest, this is kind of an introvert’s dream, right?! You know, apart from the pandemic part of it.
As much as part of me would like to go to ground, hold my little ones close, and just read, garden, and bake my way through, I also know that I’m going to go crazy if that’s the only plan.
We can’t let physical isolation mean social isolation.
Thankfully we live in an era where we can do that. For all their ills, our smartphones can be a lifeline for connection in times like this. But here’s the thing, I can feel the temptation to just spend more time in the news and more time in social media. And while it feels like connection, it’s only connection-lite, a watered down version of the real connection my heart craves.
I think it’s time that we rediscover the smartphone as, wait for it … a PHONE. Nothing beats the back and forth interplay of live conversation – that’s the kind of connection that your brain was formed for. A like, a comment, even a quick typed message, don’t do for us what conversation can. And through the miracle of modern technology we even have video calls… this is the future we imagined as kids (still waiting on the flying cars, thank you).
So here’s the challenge: every day, make an actual call to a person. Choose a friend, or choose someone you suspect might need someone to reach out to them. If you know someone who lives alone, you need to get in their world.
And I don’t want to hear any introvert’s arguments here, I was once ruled by phone phobia, and I still catch myself wishing “go to answerphone, go to answerphone” while it’s ringing. And let’s quash this whole public narrative of “just text me”, “who even calls any more”, “why would someone interrupt my world” blah blah. I suspect that was rubbish anyway, but it’s definitely rubbish when everyone’s in lockdown.
I’m not sure how these ideas will play out in real life over the coming weeks and months, as this is completely uncharted territory. But I know that we are in this for the long haul, so we’ve got to start out with the things that matter most.
Much love x.