Are you the same you as before the pandemic?

It’s not a trick question, and I’m fully aware that the pandemic is not even remotely over – even though we’re all supposed to be panicking about the war in Ukraine now, and have forgotten about the pandemic, because, you know, we needed a distraction since it’s not really possible to stop society in its tracks because it turns out that the economy tanks, and who could have thunk that? I dunno, it’s a mystery.

But in the fairly imminent future I’m going to be going back to Sweden, where I’ve spent time but not met any of my friends since 2020. Early 2020, in the vast majority of cases.

And it’s suddenly occurred to me that I’m not the same person I was when they last saw me. For a start, it’s been two years, and two years of extreme stress haven’t been kind to my very-nearly-54-year-old self.

But the main changes are on the inside. I’ve become even more of an introvert in many ways. I expect that’s normal, given the events of the last two years. But I’ve also become far less tolerant of poor behaviour. I haven’t been able to meet the people I want to for two years. I’m buggered if I’m putting up with rudeness, bad communication or being taken for granted by anyone I don’t particularly want to encounter. I’d already been edging in this direction before the pandemic – so maybe it’s just an age thing, after all? – hence the question.

Are you the same you as before the pandemic?

For example, today has been a pretty good day. It’s even held a couple of pieces of good news, unlike almost every day in the last 700-odd. I’ve gone for a walk, worked sitting at a table in the garden, done a moving meditation that gave me a lightbulb moment, and listened to techno and birdsong simultaneously. That sounds like Jane. And yet… not quite.

How about you?

The moving meditation I did today. It’s the voiceover that really makes it, I think.

4 thoughts on “Are you the same you as before the pandemic?

  1. I suspect that we are all defined by our social activities more than we would like to admit. Now that the social fabric has been mercilessly ripped in strategic places, and the patches we have sewn on (or intend to sew on, to save nine for each one we make in time) are far from pleasing either in appearance or functionality, I think lots of us will have a hard time believing in the validity of many things we used to get involved in quite enthusiastically. I have changed (58 year-old here). For instance, I give an in person presentation next week. I have probably met IRL about 50 of the participants. There’s a dinner the night before with around a dozen going. Do I want to go? No, not at all. Do I feel the slightest obligation to attend? Bollocks to that, I can chat with these people the next day, if I like! Also, I notice, in anticipation of the event, that I am not too concerned about what I will be wearing (yeah, I know, whatever the f— I like); before, items would be carefully selected beforehand. But then, as I review my notes for this presentation, I realise the core of me is pretty much the same, and I am guessing it will be for most of the other folk there too.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Haha, that’s a brilliant attitude, Allison – and your thinking is very familiar. I think it’s exactly those social obligations that are causing the most friction for me.

      I’m hoping that if these feelings are widespread, people will be a bit more understanding with each other when they have to drop out of such arrangements at the last minute – or in advance – because they just can’t bring themselves to face going.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. I’m definitely a different me now, in a few different ways. One is that I’m now more appreciative of opportunities to see friends and family (especially family), as the isolation of the lockdowns put my introversion to a test and revealed it to be not as severe as I’d thought. Another is that I’m more aware of the importance of facing my inner challenges and resolving things that need to be resolved. A third is that I’m more protective of myself, which would seem to contradict the first one but is actually related specifically to discernment in dealing with others.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Ooh – I like that. Reframing “not putting up with rudeness, bad communication or being taken for granted” as “I’m more protective of myself” makes it sound much more positive!

      Liked by 2 people

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