The Fight to Reconnect: Life During the Pandemic

Photo Courtesy The Cleveland Clinic

It seems that nowadays we have more of a desire than ever to connect with our friends and loved ones. In a world where we previously took for granted that we’d be meeting up with our families for Holiday dinners we are now grasping at any chance to see our family (even if that means driving to a fast food restaurant 45 minutes away to meet your Mother-in-Law and sitting in the parking lot in separate cars with the windows down while you eat your family meal together). It's clear that today's society has certainly left behind the idea of family dinners and a once a year family vacation. No longer are we in the days of the days of Walt and June Cleaver, where there are soda shops and the milk man drops off your inventory at the door. We’re a society that is more disconnected than ever and maybe one of the few bright sides of our current circumstances is that we can start to rebuild those connections with those we care about.

So how did we become so distant from one another? One theory is that social media created this false idea of connection with an online community, therefore, creating this false narrative and false reality that we have made real connections. Now, to be clear, I believe that there is something to said for having a sense of community and a sense of belonging to a group of like-minded people or that have gone through a similar experience as you have. What I’m getting at is more of the idea that the number of ‘followers’ you have or how many ‘likes’ a piece of content you post gets leads us to believe that we’ve made these sincere connections; However, I think it is the exact opposite. When you close your app or computer at the end of the day, ask yourself, out of the number of ‘friends’ you have on a social media platform, “how many of them would you actually be able to pick up the phone and call if you really needed something?” And that, I think is where we started to lose not only way but our path to building meaningful connections.

So why is this desire to reconnect so strong right now? Is this something that was already innately in us? Is it because our ability to connect has been taken away from us causing us to now want to pursue something we previously took for granted? What is it about community and connection that bring us so much comfort and joy? Is it knowing that we have someone out there who will have our back? Does connecting with someone else actually set off the same receptors in our brain as a delicious slice of pizza, causing a spike in dopamine?? Why is connection so powerful dammit?! 

If you ask me, at the end of day, I think we all want to belong. To feel we have a place and purpose here on this big giant sphere that rotates around the sun. And to know that our existence, that being brought into this world wasn’t futile. So during these strange times, make that phone call to a friend, have that Zoom Happy Hour, let those who you care about know it; and, when this quarantine is finally over let’s all make more of an effort to connect with one another now that we know how easily that opportunity can be taken away from us.



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