Posted 12.23.20

SHAWVILLE, QC | Lesson number one: The pandemic's lockdown may be teaching us a thing or two, despite it's costs. One lesson is obvious: how deeply we all depend upon contact and communication with others. The opposite side of that coin may be that we also are learning to live with our own selves, without the contact we took for granted in the past.

These are lessons in all the great cultures and as much as we may have progressed, we remain human and in need of these relationships with others for our own mental health. This is a plus for Covid-19.

Experts have been cautioning us of the mental health costs of so much isolation, such sudden and thorough isolation. Economists quantify how much our isolation is costing us in terms of mental health costs -- plus the profound economic costs of so many jobs in suspension and so many businesses and services closed.

With these frustrations growing, with us missing the most trivial outlets of the past like a dinner together or a Saturday-night dance party, our pressure-cooker lives keep building up steam. Add the personal stresses of Zoom meetings and digital conferences, of balancing work at home with child-care and the kids' online schoolwork, our partners' personal struggles and shortages -- no need for a list of all our grievances!

Apart from a few positives and the lessons we learn about ourselves, today's world seems awfully constricting. There are positives -- we shop nearby, in local stores, we walk and walk and walk, all the time discovering attractions which have been just around the corner all our lives. We take up new past-times, from puzzles to reading, creative pursuits, home renos, or just catching up on years of under-sleep ... still these frustrations remain within us all.

The temptation is to take those frustrations out on anyone nearby.

We blow up at our partners or in-laws or parents -- because it's easy to do, and somewhat safe. Except it's not safe. The people around us these days are our closest relationships, the ones we value most, so why go at them with a wreaking ball? Our partners, families, neighbours and co-workers are the important people in our lives.

Why attack those relationships? They are what make our lives rewarding. To be critical or hostile, sarcastic or derogatory toward those we love and need doesn't make sense, even if it arises from our deep frustration.

Keeping our home nests intact and flourishing is the goal; treating those around us like punching-bags is self-destructive. These are who love us most and care for our futures, these relationship depends on love, not on our frustrations, no matter how justified. Our homes should be our strongest, safest places in the world.

We have to keep our wits about us. Strengthening, not attacking, the relationships around us is the toughest lesson from these Covid-riddled months. Be courageous. Be loving and smart. Wait for the signs, the all-clear signs.


Copyright © 2020 Fred Ryan/Log Cabin Chronicles 12.23.20