Kayla Bacon-Dramatically Skipping Down Road

Human Connection in a COVID-19 World

What did the coronavirus make us realize about ourselves, the world, and humanity? A sense of human connection. I usually tend to be cynical about many things in this world. One of those things is my love and hate relationship with our very own human species. I mean, can you blame me? Mass media is often saturated with unfortunate and negative things that are happening in our world. Majority of the time, these miserable and horrible events are because of our own doing. It's so easy for anyone to look at our global society and say that we’re all doomed one way or the other. What we didn’t see coming is that just three months shy of 2020, the global community would be tested. Particularly, how human connection would play a significant role in whether we’ll be able to overcome this trying time, or if we’ll succumb to our own self-interested ways as the humans that we are. I do think that the uncertainties that we are currently facing with this pandemic has made us realize the importance of the simple and good things in life. The presence of literal physical barriers through face masks, face shields, gloves, etc. It has caused many to realize how people relied so much on physical touch and visual representations of kindness and tenderness. Unable to give each other hugs or simply shake hands, these manners that were normalized in society, now present harmful risks. It’s mind-boggling that now we’re living in a world that has halted our natural way of human connection. However, there are new ways that quarantine has shown us that despite these well-needed precautionary barriers of human connection, it is still very much present in our lives. That our desire for connection continues to drive us to maintain it in the safest and most appropriate way, leading me to think that there is still a lot of good out there in the world. I never really craved going out and socializing (it depends if I like to talk to you in the first place), so when this whole quarantine took place, I didn’t think much about it because I thought it wouldn’t create any changes in my life. Well, I was obviously wrong! Three weeks in and counting, and I’m gradually realizing how much I miss a sense of human connection. I definitely believe that there are a lot of people in the same boat as me. Some believe that having to form of in-person interaction is vital to maintain a level of sanity and efforts to uphold any form of connection with other people makes their interaction more meaningful. I do agree with this because I’ve heard a story that’s fitting for this statement. A person told me a sweet and genuine interaction that he had during one of his walks. He told me that he passed an older lady and they exchanged quick “how are you?” (I’m assuming at a safe distance from each other) and how that very brief interaction was such a nice thing to have during these days. I suppose his encounter shows just how much we crave some form of human connection. The once insignificant polite smiles and random “hellos” from people, now tends to brighten the dreary isolation days. There are some who have used their isolation as a way to catch up with old friends and distant families. While others are simply realizing how strangers nowadays are a lot nicer in general. Many are extremely thankful for the advanced technology majority of us possessed. As one of my good friends said, if he didn’t have the technology he has today to communicate with anyone and anywhere in the world he would’ve “legit gone crazy.” In terms of human connection specifically regarding the direct effects of the coronavirus, it’s been interesting to witness some good that’s coming out of these unfavorable circumstances. For instance, my parents and younger brother were out of the country for a month-long vacation. They all left before any country lockdowns were put in place and before the coronavirus was classified as a pandemic. Fortunately, they were able to get back home safely (they tested negative for the virus) and successfully self-quarantined for weeks. It was through their process of self-isolation that I realized how important human connection/interaction was for people. During their isolation, coworkers and family friends were dropping off essentials. People were dropping off food (cooked and uncooked), cleaning supplies, and of course, toilet paper! What I found to be the most incredible thing is that all these individuals did this without being asked by my parents to get them groceries. They did it just through the goodness of their hearts (as cheesy as that may sound). I guess it’s moments like these that my cynical perspective about the world and human nature is once again proven wrong. So, I now ask whoever is reading this to please stay safe and self-isolated. The more people who follow the quarantine regulations increases the likelihood that this whole situation will get better faster. Once it does get better we can all go outside again. I hope you do what you've been wanting to do during this whole isolation. Hug more people. Maybe ask out that person you’ve been eyeing before all this happened or the one you’ve been talking to during the isolation. Smile more to others. Ask people about their day often. Catch up with friends at a nice restaurant. Go out to the grocery store without the pressure of buying two of everything. I hope we never again take human connection for granted. Finally, I hope the general kindness and positivity people displayed during these times will remain even long after the virus itself is gone, since we don’t need a pandemic to be overall decent human beings.