It isn’t news to anyone, the last year and a half has been trying, isolating, confusing, and damn right depressing. We’ve had to acquiesce, adjust, change … whatever — pick a verb — to a different way of life.
I’m not here to discuss the pros, cons, or any of the contradictions, theories, or suppositions about where we all now find ourselves, but to talk about a few observations.
People are crying out for connections.
It’s funny after turning into a society that has forgotten how to read facial expressions and largely communicates through text & emojis, we find ourselves craving to see each other and have a real conversation.
The masks, whatever you believe about their merits have robbed us of the very things we took for granted. They obscure the most important part of us in which we communicate — our facial expressions, a smile, a grimace, a frown, or a look of pleasure.
Suddenly, I find myself focusing on the eyes — the window to the soul as they say. I listen harder because words are muffled behind masks. I watch for a furrowed brow, brimming, squinted, or narrowed eyes. I listen to the tone of their voice. Is it pitched, low, loving, angered, or just tired?
I’ve become an active listener. We all have out of necessity.
On occasion, I meet someone without a mask. I don’t rush to judgment or ask about their vaccination status. I’m not afraid but thrilled to see a face and 99% of the time, a smiling face, eager to converse greets me back. I smile and speak and they respond. There’s an openness, a hunger to connect and we do.
It doesn’t matter if it’s a stranger in an elevator, on the street, in a store, or a nail salon — I feel an immediate connection. Sometimes, it’s brief and sometimes it stretches into minutes or hours. It’s as if neither of us wants it to end. It’s been so long, but we’re paying attention now. We’re looking for those opportunities. We’re really listening; not twiddling with our phones, or distracted. We’re hanging on to that moment of human-to-human connection as if by a thread.
These are difficult times, but we need each other. We need to connect, look each other in the eye, focus on the words we exchange, the stories we share, and cherish every connection.
We are not each other’s adversaries. We don’t all march to the same tune, but we are all the same and our connections make the world a better place.
We’re all in this together. Don’t ride it out in fear or alone. You’re not alone. We’re all right here, ready and eager to make connections.