When I was in high school, I was the president of the Spanish Club at Palm Beach Gardens High School.
We planned a trip to Miami to visit Little Havana and needed to raise money for gasoline and a luncheon. We brainstormed some ideas for how best to erase the money that would not be impacted by other groups raising money at the same time.
We decided on something that had never been before and sold pen pal names and addresses for $1 each. We raised more than enough money for the gas and luncheon.
I ended up buying 38 pen pal names for myself. I had been fascinated with other cultures from an early age when my dad would come home from business trips to Europe with gifts and souvenirs that intrigued me.
I exchanged letters and photos and memorabilia with my friends in Israel, Hong Kong, Brazil, Mexico, South Africa, and the UK. Often times, there would be weeks in between sending and receiving a letter.
Today the Covid-19 pandemic has impacted every aspect of life as we knew it. We have had the opportunity to self reflect and come up with come news ways of doing things. In many cases, those new things are really new things.
I have been home in isolation safeguarding my health and my husband’s health for more than 70 days. As a result of being home over this extended period of time, I have found myself relying on some of the old ways of staying in touch align with some new ones.
I am grateful for email that allows me to write someone across the street or across the globe and receive a reply in minutes rather than weeks. It is an opportunity to stay connected in the isolation. It’s a long way from the onion paper sheets and envelopes or aerograms that I used in the 197Xs.
I stay in touch with others by talking with them and today that might include a video stream. In the 196Xs when I visited Bell Labs as a Boy Scout, they showed us a phone with a tv screen on it. It was mind-blowing then and it continues to baffle me that I can see someone in China on my computer in my home in San Antonio.
Despite the rhetoric to the contrary, it is not about social distancing. We are living in a time of physical distancing. Staying 6 feet apart while wearing a face mask is prudent in these times. Staying social distance from others is a recipe for disaster.
Being isolated can once-over some very deep-rooted and troublesome thoughts for many people. Left on their own they can escalate and become potentially dangerous. In order to avoid depression or anxiety, it is imperative that we take action to stay in contact with others.
Exchanging emails or having a video chat keeps us connected with others. Rather than wait for something horrific to happen, reach out today to that family member or loved one.
Covid-19 is a catalyst for change and it is up to you to decide what you will change.
Will you find the reasons to reach out and connect with your family and friends, or will you continue to isolate and use Covid-19 as the scapegoat?
Who might you contact today in an email or a talk?
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