Time Together Has Taken On New Meaning, March 30, 2020
Time Together Has Taken On New Meaning
There’s been lots of good advice in the media about how to stay sane during this scary time,soI’mgoingtojustfocusononeareathatIthinkmayhelpuscomeoutstrongeron theotherside–whichwewilleventuallygetto.Whenthesunbreaksthrough,thebands strike up again and crowds gather to hear them, we’re all going to have a different appreciation for what it means to be together with the people we love.
Some of us are actuallyalonerightnow,some of us aretuckedinwithaspouseorextendedfamily. Some are in their suburban or country house, some in their apartment warrens. What I thinkwe’reallexperiencing,fromdailyormorefrequentcheckinswithchildren,siblings, parents, friends, the Amazon delivery people, the neighbors we sing to from balconies or across the street, is the importance of these relationships in anchoring our lives.
It’sbeen a vast source of potential energy, now unleashed, for us to really understand what relationships actually mean – the feeling that even if you live alone, you’re not alone; that if you live with someone, time together has taken on new meaning. Today‘s New York Timesfeatureslettersfrompeopledescribinghowtheyareadaptingtosocialdistancing. The loveliest, I thought, was the simple description by a retired couple of what they called the upside of social isolation – their newfound pleasure in sitting down together eachafternoontobingewatchaseriesandhaveaglassofwinetogether.Itwasamodest, quiet, thinly veiled description of renewed intimacy and connection, just passing time in goodcompanionship.
Tooofteninnormaltimeswehavetodothings,checkofflistsand so forth – rather than just being. The trick to getting through this will be to feel satisfied with just being – literally just being – alive, being together, if physically apart knowing someone else is thinking about you and that you’re thinking about someone else who is thinking about you, and then making this connection each day.
If you can keep this in mind,thelightattheendofthetunnel,itgivesyousomethingtopracticenowinthedark time. It will change the way we see each other for many years to come, long after this ends.
Dr. David Kahn
Professor of Psychiatry, Columbia University, HDRF Board Member