As of today my community is not yet in lockdown, but I’ve made a commitment to social distancing. Here’s why: Social Distancing, This is Not a Snow Day by Asaf Bitton, MD, MPH, executive director of Ariadne Labs in Boston, MA.
As writers, many of us are accustomed to – even crave – solitude. I love my time alone, so I thought it would be easy to maintain social distancing for the weeks required to help flatten the curve of coronavirus cases.
I’m lucky. I live in a place where I can go for a walk without getting closer than six feet from another person. I have plenty to occupy my time – I write, I edit and coach other writers, and I facilitate writers workshops, all of which can be done online. Now I also visit with friends using teleconferencing options.
But it turns out, I rely on human connection much more than I knew. I miss the nearness of friends, and chance encounters on the beach. I miss going to the movies and walking downtown where I’m bound to run into a friend. When I’m alone too much, my mind can begin to play tricks on me – particularly with the avalanche of bad news outside my quiet little house.
Still, I know that social distancing is the only thing to do now – not just for my own health, but for the greater good. If we all do our part, we might be able to flatten the curve. But how to stay positive, or at least sane, in the midst of a pandemic?
I’ve been moved by acts of love and humanity that remind me of the good in the world. In Italy whole neighborhoods have reinvented the flash mob in the age of quarantines and lockdowns. From their balconies they have coordinated efforts to cheer medical personnel, play music, and sing opera. Some of these videos brought me to tears.
Chef Jose Andres, a great humanitarian has closed his restaurants for at least two weeks and is paying his employees during this time saying; “In this moment, loving each other means staying away from each other. This is about We The People. Each of us has a responsibility to act for others, not just ourselves. We are all together in this fight…and we will win.”
In a time like this, writing can help us to transcend our circumstances, and to give us a sense of connection with the higher good. Write for the side effects, you’ll feel better.
Here is a writing prompt: You wake up one day to discover that your greatest weakness is now a superpower.