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Loneliness and Togetherness

There’s an epidemic of loneliness. We’ve all heard it. However bad it was before Covid, it’s worse now. Especially for those hunkering down solo, with little human contact. They miss their family and friends. Phone calls and social-distanced walks just don’t cut it. Some have not had a hug in months. They’re following the rules but they’re lonely. And they feel bad for complaining when they’re safe at home and others are on the front lines of the pandemic.

And then I hear from other women who are cooped up with partners and children 24/7, Zooming for work or school side by side, in suddenly too-small quarters. Women who used to enjoy social time at work or play, and alone time at home, are feeling suffocated by the forced family togetherness. A grocery shopping run, alone in the car, can be the highlight of the week. They feel bad admitting this, knowing others are so lonely.

The contrast between these two extremes hit me this week. The commonality seems to be in the yearning—yearning for connection or yearning for space—and the lack of control.

Sometimes our situations are such that we can’t do much more to improve them. We can only learn to cope, as best we can, with what is. Knowing that there is a light at the end of the tunnel, that herd immunity and the lifting of restrictions are coming (thanks to a trio of approved vaccines) is a relief. Hope helps us endure.

YOUR TURN: Where are you and your loved ones on the loneliness to togetherness spectrum? If you’re on one extreme or another, how are you coping?

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