Side effects

I was silent for quite a while.

In spite of not being active on the blogging world, writing remained present. I wrote. I kept recording. My notebooks received without hesitation my words. My journals are my silent, non-judgemental friends, my therapists, my confessionals. The safe place where I pour out my frustrations, my fears, my anger, my joys, my victories. My notebooks kept recording what one day may become a story to share.

The past months were busy. I moved. I changed apartments. This came with stress, boxes, packing, unpacking, and many decisions linked to what my new place needs. Between cleaning and refreshing the paint in my new home, thoughts I wanted to share, came and went away. A few I managed to keep and store. Others I let them go. The idea of today’s post came from a discussion with a friend, and got my personal insights while holding the paint roller in my hands. I am a firm believer that doing things with your hands brings mental clarity and is an active form of meditation.

The idea? The side effects. The side effects of the pandemic.

Not the massive economic and societal effects, but the personal ones. How this past year, silently, changed us. I have one example. My own. These are my insights:

Perception of time – after more than one year of teleworking, home office and living alone my ability to perceive, assess and sense time changed. I have difficulties in placing on a time scale the events. I was able to say at any given moment, without hesitation and without checking the phone, what date is. In my mind the events were positioned in a clear order. There was no place for doubting. A day was an independent cell, a week was coming from the days’ succession, and together were forming a month. All was clear.

Now? Everything is blurred. A day transforms in a week, a month in a year and everything is mixed. The hedgehog day all year round spent wearing the same pyjamas. Confusing, right?!

I am discipled person. I like to organise my weeks ahead, to put on paper what and when I must do things. Looking ahead doesn’t motivate anymore. The future and the past merged and became a dense eternal foggy day silently wrapping myself in.

My ability to focus diminished and so did my willingness to work for it. One of my daily pleasures was to meditate immediately after waking up. Or do something close to it. Closing my eyes, taking deep breaths, emptying the mind, and letting the energy flow in, had therapeutic powers. Awareness in stillness. It was the moment of anchoring and preparing myself for whatever the day had to bring. Slowly but surely, I started to skip the ritual. One morning here, one morning there, until it became a once a week habit (Sunday still keeps the sacred serenity).

I was able to sit in a chair and write a blog post in one go, with minimum interruptions. Now? I see only distractions all over the place and I became the master procrastinator.

Technology overload – too many screen, far less human connections. At the beginning of the pandemic, technology was a blessing. The only mean to connect with family and friends. The means of communication and information.

In the course of one year, technology became my friend and my enemy. The work laptop is my silent, stalker ghost. From the moment I wake up its presence is haunting me. Outside of the working hours, I do everything I can to run away from the surrounding screens. They are EVERYWHERE.

I cannot deny the benefits. I am among the lucky ones who are able to work from the comfort of their home. It is up to us to avoid the screen trap. Let’s not get ourselves completely absorbed by the screens’ blue light. Let’s try to resist its alluring power. State – of – the – art technology cannot replace the human warmth. Technology is a useful tool, not a substitute for meaningful relationships.

After one year in semi-isolation, I developed a social awkwardness aura. I openly admit that my social skills altered. I have the feeling that I do not know how to behave anymore in groups larger than two, three individuals. I am glancing in amazement at the gatherings cheerfully enjoying a sunny day in the park. I long to join, but I miss the entering pass. I lost the language of the assembly, but I am eager to learn it again. I know the day when I will shake the awkwardness off will come. What a glorious day will be.

Anxiety on the rise – my alertness level heightened. I can easily spot OCD symptoms. Leaving the house transformed into a ritual of checking the switches, the appliances and the lock. Being way too cautions became my second nature. Handwashing done automatically without blinking. I know all the measures were & are necessary and that a collective effort is required. My humble opinion is that somewhere on the road all the terrifying news, all the louder than life threatening voices started to do more harm than good.

I know I am not the only one experiencing these side effects. We are all touched by the pandemic and we all feel its deepest repercussions. Everywhere there are signs of the pandemic fatigue.

I am looking forward to the moment when we will free ourselves from for the current patterns. There is hope. Vaccines are here. Some parts of the world still struggle. Some are more fortunate with vaccination in full speed and great outcomes. I am convinced that we can overcome this only acting as one strong global community.

I know the side effects will slowly vanish. The antidotes will come in the shape of beautiful random smiles, hugs received with grace and from togetherness.

Lots of love,

Sharing Simple Words

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