Would You Rather Meet Online Or In Person?

Working from home is not a by-product of the pandemic. It is not new, it just became more widespread since the lockdown started. With other industries anyway. With the nature of my work, it was not really applicable. A financial advisor may set appointments online and get some information via calls, but the presentation and closing needed to be done in person. Until the lockdown, that is.

Ever since the world (began lol) seemingly came to a halt: international and inter city alike borders closed, both small and big non-essential businesses closed (some unfortunately for good), offices and schools closed, and people asked to stay at home, I could not help but wonder how human beings, being social animals, will adapt.

If there is prevalent discontentment and rampant unhappiness in the normal world BC (before COVID-19) as we know it, what kind of pandemonium will social isolation cause? At the start of the lockdown, the thought of an entire month in quarantine drove me crazy! What am I supposed to do at home? Now it has already been 16 months. The good news is, I survived! The bad news is, the myriad of emotions I am constantly fighting off every day (some days not very successfully). I am lost (more so than before anyway), anxious (what is in store for me and my daughter in the future?), and dejected (I know this too shall pass, but when?).

When I look around at what is happening, yes there are certain events that give me hope (more people are getting vaccinated, for example), but generally there is still more toxicity than positivity. In our world today, where everything is uncertain, what really matters?

“In explaining why the wealthiest people are not the happiest, Daniel Kahneman argues that as we get more money, we adapt our expectations upward, and so we aspire to ever more lofty and expensive pleasures – a treadmill that never ends, even for billionaires. As he puts it, “The rich may experience more pleasure than the poor, but they also require more pleasure to be equally satisfied.”

But Kahneman’s research also suggests one way to escape from the hedonic treadmill: a life rich in rewarding relationships. The two most pleasurable activities were making love and socializing. Least enjoyable were the daily commute and work.

And the rankings of which people primed happiness? Here is the list, from top to bottom:

Friends

Relatives

Spouse or partner

Children

Clients or customers

Coworkers

Boss

Being alone

Among people around the world, nourishing relationships are the single most universally agreed-upon feature of the good life. While the specifics vary from culture to culture, all people everywhere deem warm connections with others to be the core feature of optimal human existence.”

Daniel Goleman – Social Intelligence

Reading this chapter of the book Social Intelligence gives me hope. Obviously not the making love part. But apparently, a life rich in rewarding relationships is what really matters. Being single and honestly still not completely healed, it is reassuring that (at least according to research) at top of the list is friends and relatives. It may be why I like the show FRIENDS so much and why Samantha Jones in Sex and the City for me is the epitome of a contented and happy single woman.

Given all this and considering the state of our planet right now, how do we (re)connect and nourish our relationships? A text message is a far cry from an actual conversation, a zoom meeting is a poor substitute for a face to face conference and a video call, well… it is physically impossible to hug someone virtually. I suppose like what humans always do, we adapt. We send more heartfelt and longer messages, we make zoom meetings a little bit more engaging and interesting, we exercise, meditate, try to sleep well and hope that someday soon we would get to finally see and be with our loved ones.

Yesterday, I had the opportunity to meet with a client turned friend. We had lunch, and if our conversations were dominated by boyfriends and work 6 years ago, now we talked about our babies and how motherhood altered our bodies (she is lucky hers is better). Then we went shopping for meat and stuff. Oh, how different our lives are now. I remember the time she was assigned in the US and I asked her to bring back a purse I found online.

I realized how I have missed going out and meeting friends. I will edit my July challenge ( https://toabettersarahraisingsophia.wordpress.com/2021/07/01/july-challenge/ ) and include seeing 2 people a week (with proper health protocol, of course). I am so grateful for the chance to reconnect with a friend.

How is your social health today?

#ToABetterSarah #FromZeroToHero

I have never felt smaller.

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