It's week 10 of quarantine. 10 weeks of staying inside for the greater majority of my time, only venturing out for quick grocery runs or a daily walk on my neighborhood's nearby trail. 10 weeks of "sheltering in place" with my parents and two brothers has been interesting to say the least. "It's like we're in high school again," I said to one of my friends recently. "Honestly, it's more like middle school because we can't even go anywhere," she replied, which really hit home what we are all experiencing right now.
Recently, I've been considering the idea of connection and how different it looks in quarantine. In our lives "pre-quarantine," we had the ability to see friends whenever we wanted, making plans on a whim. We had the ability to go to a variety of places, from shopping malls, to movie theaters to concerts, the list goes on. While we did all these things, what we were really doing was simply living, experiencing life with the people we loved most in a way we considered normal, a way that we may realize now is one we took for granted.
I've written time and time again how important all the relationships in my life are to me, and this feels poignant now more than ever as I think about how we can remain socially connected in a time of physical distancing.
I don't know about how you all feel, but for me, quarantine can get lonely. One of my friends expressed to me the other day how she felt upset and alone even though she was with her family, yet also didn't feel like talking it out with anyone. Living life in the way we are now comes with waves of emotions.
Yet amidst all the loneliness and isolation, I've found a lot of moments of raw and authentic connection with those around me and those miles away.
Whether it's a random text from a friend, a music recommendation, a Netflix party, or a Zoom call, I've still been able to connect with those I love most, some even more so with life having slowed down for the time being.
And as I think about all these connections I've made over the past two-going-on-three months, I realize that there is a common factor in all of the moments: they were one bred of a conscious desire to connect.
When living on a college campus, it's natural to run into people on the daily, to have those moments of connection both instantaneously and spontaneously. In quarantine, connection is something that must be sought out for it to happen. And so, I see something really beautiful happening amidst our isolating circumstances: we have been creating spaces of conscious connection with one another.
Connection is happening with intention, with purpose, because we no longer have the ability to connect with people on happenstance.
For me at least, this makes the little moments matter more. Just as I was writing this, my mom handed me something I received in the mail: a friendship bracelet and handwritten letter from my cousin. While even if we weren't in quarantine, this still would have made my day, this act of service and love seems even greater given everything going on.
Every little text, word of support, random letter is magnified in quarantine because it comes from a genuine desire to connect.
You seek out those you care about because you want them to know they matter to you. And of course, you might find yourself disappointed by those who haven't displayed that desire to consciously connect with you. Yet as hard as it can be to come to terms with it all, I've found that letting go of the relationships that no longer serve us allows love to come in from all different directions.
I made the cover photo for this article a spiderweb because during this time, we are being called to recognize the interconnectedness of humanity.
The thing with quarantine is that everyone is going through it. Everyone has had their life turned upside down in one way or another. Everyone has been deeply affected by Covid-19, and so, we can all relate to one another.
Please don't allow physical isolation cause you to be socially isolated. Quarantine has given us the space, the opportunity, to connect with one another with intention, to reach out to those we love, and to allow that connection to radiate throughout our lives.
The little moments matter more here. Send that text you've been wanting to, reach out to that person who keeps crossing your mind. The space is ours to take advantage of. It's on us to create it.