You might be alone, but you are not alone in this. Being alone and loneliness are not the same at all. Rather consider this time alone as a precious gift to (re)connect with one another.
This blogpost is part of the series Hope in Times of Corona (Although I’m a research journalist writing on climate change and sustainability, these weeks I will focus on Hope in Times of Corona (and yes, it will include climate change as well). Because, exceptional times ask for exceptional actions).
Now you are cut of the world around you it is more important than ever to (re)connect. First of all, with yourself (but that is for the next blog post), but second of all with the people you really care about. You might be alone at the moment, but you are not alone in this. And in these times of enforced isolation it is more important than ever to get out of your emotional isolation.
Alone vs lonely
Having spent the last couple of years far away from my beloved friends and family, in countries I did not know anyone, in places I did sometimes not speak the language nor was able to really connect with people out of safety or other concerns, I know how it feels to be alone and lonely.
I know as well that both words do not mean the same. We all know the feeling of being in company and feeling lonely and lost because you don’t really connect (and lucky you if you never experienced that feeling), but as well we might know the warm loving feelings for one who was not in the physical same space as us.
The feeling to be connected with one, even though this person was not at arm length. For some it might have been a phone call or a simple text message of their partner, for others a smiley face of a friend commenting on a picture on social media; for others it might be just the memory of a shared experience with some friends or family; or just looking at the picture of your children when not at home.
Being alone and being lonely is not the same at all.
Would, Should, Could
Moreover, we can use this time of being alone to feel more connected than ever to those who we love and really care about.
How often have you said to yourself you would call a friend or pass by, if you would be less busy? How often have you not responded a text or a call from someone because you were to occupied with work or running from one activity to another, trying to manage work, family, friends, exercise, hobbies, and all the other things that our high-demanding society demands of you?
Look Into Your Heart
Today is the moment. The rat race has come to a (temporary) end. The world has been pushed on a gigantic pause button. You might have to work from home and take care of your family at home, but work pressure will not be as high, since the global economy is slowing down; and you don’t have to drive your children from one activity to another, since schools and any other public gathering are suspended.
Today is the moment. Take a breath. Look into your heart. Who is housing there, except for yourself and the people you are sharing the house with at this moment? Who are the people you wished you had more time to talk to? Who are the people you wished you would have texted back to when time wasn’t running out? Who are the people you wished you could have more time to call and really talk to? Who are the people you really care about, and you genuinely want to listen to and hear how they are doing?
Today is the moment. Take your phone, your computer, your smoking signals if you are cut off of electricity for god sake. Communication over distance has never been easier than in the 21stcentury. Take your preferred communication mean – even if it was only sending that smiley face on the picture of your joined journey a long while ago – and reach out to each other. Make that phone call you wished you would have made when you had the time. Text that message that you wished you would have sent when the rat race took over.
Now is the Time
Today is the moment to really take the time to listen and talk to each other. (Re)Connect with those you care about; with those you love and think of. Let them know they might be alone at home, but they are not alone in this. As yourself. You might be alone at home, but you are not alone in this.
We are all in here together. Now we have the time we too often lack to really talk and listen to each other. Use the moment when it presents itself. Open your heart, when the doors are closed. Speak up, when the world is silenced. Step up, when you cannot step out. Show your solidarity, when you cannot see your beloved ones around you.
Look into your heart, know it is full of beloved ones, as you are housing in many other hearts. Re-establish the emotional connection now the physical one is gone. (Re)Connect with the people around you, take the time to deepen those bounds again, now the time is here.
Time over Distance
Living far away from many people I love, and care deeply about, I know I sometimes long for a hug or their physical presence. Yet, I managed to connect deeper and better with my meaningful others over the years I was overseas, than when I was physical near them, solely because of the rat race of life would drive us apart.
One day for instance, I was deeply sunken in sadness, and my tears were all over the place. Even though I was alone, I felt so connected with my friends who were with me by just listening to me on the phone. Even just listening to my crying breath, too tiered to speak up a single word. We were not even talking but just being there one next to another in silence.
Those are the moments I feel how important it is to connect with your beloved ones, take the time to listen and really talk to each other, despite the distance.
And to be honest, because of talking on the phone was all the time I had with these beloved ones for the last couple of years, I feel we became so much closer, because we really took the time to listen and talk to each other. To be there, in good and bad times, no matter how far we were separated.
Time is the Greatest Gift
So, if any, settle in the moment and the knowledge that you will be alone for the next couple of days or weeks, but by no means you have to be lonely. Be grateful for whatever has pushed the pause button of our society, because time is the greatest gift one can ever receive.
Today is the moment, to take the time and (re)connect with your beloved ones, to take the time to listen and really talk, to laugh and cry together, to be in silence and in waterfalls of words; to share your experiences and advice, your feelings and thoughts. You might be alone, but by no means you are alone in this.
There is no greater gift than time, so embrace this time and (re)connect with those you wished you had the time for in times of non-Corona.
Talk to you in the next blog post on Hope in Times of Corona.