Updated: Sep 23, 2020
There's a shift in the air. The season has started to change, you can notice the crisp mornings and the leaves are starting to turn yellow or red, or just fall to the ground, exhausted after a challenging summer. I wonder if that is the same for us? There is certain shift in the people around me, have they had enough of the challenging summer ? Are they also ready to fall to the ground, exhausted?
Back in March there seemed to be a element of excitement accompanying the inevitable uncertainty caused by lock-down. People had time to do 'things'. They shopped for friends, spent time with their nuclear family and missed those whose availability they had taken for granted. . Less commuting, less stress, lie-ins and less pressure to be somewhere were things that were somewhat relished among the uncertainty and fear of the unknown. Life got slower, and it was new and appreciated. There seemed to be an unspoken challenge laid down to equal the kindness shown by others, as people openly stepped up with offers of support to strangers like I have never witnessed before. The sun shone, and many reluctantly admitted there were elements to lock-down they were quite 'ok' with.
But things seem to have changed. Six months later I am noticing a difference in those closest to me that warrants reflection. Are we beginning to struggle now, and why would that be when recently things have started to loosen up and an element of 'normality' is happening?
The answer I come to is depletion, not exhaustion. As human beings there are things that we require to keep us emotionally and physically well and these, I reason, have become depleted. We need the feeling of warmth when we see someone we love. We need that same feeling when we receive a compliment from someone we share a relationship with. We need the small sense of fulfillment when we do something nice for someone else. It is in our biology, it is how we developed and it is how we work. Normally our shared experiences live in our memories and will fire that 'good feeling' for hours maybe days, but without 'topping up' these experiences due to our isolation in lock down, maybe we do not have enough 'good feeling' to keep us going. We have moved more online, and keep in touch, but can this really replace what we get in just being together.
In his book 'Lost Connections', Johann Hari lays out his understanding of the ways in which our lives have become challenged by our disconnection from the world and the impact that has on us as human beings. His reflections are on how cultural and societal changes have affected our connections to each other and the world but his points become more focused in the current extreme situation.
If you are struggling with the current times, and maybe in general, this book might give you an insight into why. It may also give you ideas on how to survive and move forward by finding the importance of your own 'intrinsic' values, and by helping you remember that we are driven by our biology and our development through our predecessors not by the materialistic world that is our creation, not our God.