During this pandemic experience I have spent quite a bit of time alone… with my cat. My husband, save 2 weeks in March 2020, has been working on-site at his job through it all. His industry, appliances and electronics, is one area of the economy that has been in a skyrocket for the last year so we have been incredibly lucky. What this has also created for someone like me, who is already socially awkward at times, is an opportunity to spend large quantities of time interacting only with my cat in real time. I mean, sure I am on Zoom and FaceTime a lot during the week but there’s something about these platforms that are already a little stilted and weird that being awkward is all part of the experience. And by the time, we get everyone off mute, figure out how to turn their cameras on or off, well nobody remembers that I made a joke that nobody understood or thought was funny.
In fact, while teaching yoga the majority of the time I am the only one NOT on mute so I crack jokes periodically and then giggle to myself. Who knows if they are laughing, they are on mute. It makes you wonder, if a funny joke is told and everyone is on mute… I won’t finish it. You either were following my line of thought or you weren’t.
See this is what nearly 12 months being socially distant, mostly talking to my cat or a screen has done to me. I am weirder than ever. If you are my kind of weird, I suppose there is a chance you like me even better. If you weren’t my kind of odd before, well it likely doesn’t bode well for our future early encounters when I am still trying to re-condition my social skills after all this pandemic isolation has ended. I clearly am struggling since even to this day when I see people on the street or in a store, I smile behind my mask. I have been smiling while wearing a mask for nearly a year. I tried to crack a small joke about being socially awkward after all this quarantining at the grocery store a couple of weeks ago and there is something meta about being socially awkward while also simultaneously trying to ironically and humorously comment on being socially awkward. It was a complete fail.
Spending all this time alone I have been forced to work on myself. I mean when you are with yourself all day and you realize you may be a bit crazy, you have to psychoanalyze yourself daily just in order to tolerate your own neurotic qualities. One of the things I have learned during this time is that I am not a very good boundary setter. In this time of Covid, where you are working from home there is little separation, if any, of your work, home, personal time. It’s all one big lump of seconds and hours and days that bang into one another. And I have been pushed to recognize there is a difference between having free time and being available to others. Simply because there is a slot of time on my calendar that isn’t committed to a specific task doesn’t mean that I am or should be available to others. That may seem to you like an obvious concept, to me, it’s been a revelation. I started reading again a book on setting boundaries. I started reading it about 8 years ago and got sidetracked clearly since I never got past page 14. That’s OK I am not sure I would’ve been able to appreciate the wisdom of that book as much as I am able to now.
What I have learned in the most basic of terms is I suck at boundaries. I didn’t even fully understand what they were, are or how to activate them until about a week ago. It’s like having a new super power where you can set things on fire or shoot lightning from your eyes. It means there will be lots of things on fire that shouldn’t be and some unintended singes from wayward lightning. Boundaries are essentially: this is yours, not mine. This is mine, not yours. But sometimes, this is ours, but only for the next 10 minutes.
Seriously, this is difficult stuff and I think surely there should be some sort of age requirement on boundaries. As in this should be for grown-ups, like real adults. And then you realize… oh wait, by either standard you are probably old enough!
As if all of this wasn’t enough, today I learned about the power of intuition and that without using your intuition wisely you just become a wildly inaccurate mind reader that is sure Carly Simon’s song is about YOU!
I know, I am still awkward with or without boundaries or intuition! If you have learned French, written a book, or Marie Kondo’d the hell out of your house during the last year, good for you! If, however, you have done some serious soul searching, figured out you’re a real head case and may need supervision in the candy aisle until you hit about 78, let’s be friends.
Sunshine & Sarcasm,
Lowi & G