As an extrovert, I like people. I enjoy small talk, handshakes, hugs, and sharing a pizza. I like to take my kids for playdates and to the park. I like eating out at restaurants and spending the evening with my husband at the movies or other date night activities. I like to work – bonding with colleagues over a common goal and taking part in buffet-style meals while networking with others. I like to go to Target… shopping for all the things I don’t need.
What I don’t like? Social distancing.
For me, it doesn’t seem natural. I’ve never thought about putting space between myself and others. I walk into a room and immediately engage others. The person-to-person connection is vital to my professional life. Shaking hands and showing all the facial expressions I have during the conversation. Networking during a buffet-style luncheon. Eating with colleagues at the break room table. Social distancing and mask-wearing takes that away from me – and I don’t like it.
In my personal life, I’ve always hugged a person I haven’t seen in a while. I kiss my kids repeatedly. I kiss my husband. I take my kids with me to Target as a learning experience. I like them to wave to people they see or touch a toy (or two) in the toy aisle. I like to go to BBQs and prepare food for those I love. Social distancing has taken this away from me, too – and I actually hate it.
However – it is my duty as a human to follow the rules. To stay back 6 feet (or more) from others. To wear a mask in public. I may not like it (and I don’t) but I couldn’t live with myself if I even thought I was carrying COVID-19 and spread it to someone’s grandmother because I was in their personal bubble at work or at the store. Any time I feel uncomfortable in a situation (i.e. avoiding walking down the same aisle at the grocery or staying back from that person who doesn’t wear their mask properly over their nose), I try to remember that it is not about me and my uncomfortable feelings. It’s about that immunocompromised person or 90-year-old woman who depends on my commitment to social responsibility.
So please, even if you don’t like it, practice social distancing. Wear a mask. Put one foot in front of the other as you do with other things you don’t like (i.e. changing a dirty diaper or doing the dishes) and do your part. I know I am.