People often ask, what’s the first thing you want to do once the pandemic is over? For me, the answer is easy. I want to spend a whole bunch of uninterrupted in-person time with my closest girlfriends. There is so much I’ve grieved these past 11 months, but perhaps most acutely I miss the company of women.
COVID-19 has turned daily life into drudgery. The days are somehow both busy and boring. Time with girlfriends used to be the salve, but nurturing those relationships virtually now requires a level of intentionality that is easily thwarted by the new demands of pandemic life which keep piling up, particularly for women.
I’ve never been very good at staying in regular contact with long-distance friends, but in the before-times, the consequences were minimal. Regular travel meant that even if the intervals were long, there would always be a heart-warming reunion somewhere in the not-too-distant future. A little time apart did nothing to dull my love for friends scattered across the country. At times, I felt guilty that I wasn’t better at picking up the phone more regularly, but I was comforted by the fact that whenever I saw a long-distance friend, whether a month or even a year or two had passed, we were always able to pick up right up where we left off.
But functionally, the pandemic has turned all friends into long-distance friends. This is particularly true for those of us in colder climates, where winter has callously eliminated a last bastion of sanity: outdoor in-person gatherings. Sure, some are lucky enough to have pods that include multiple families, but that never worked well for my group of local friends, a crew with too many young kids with an untenable amount of exposure.
There are plenty of ways to keep in touch virtually, and I engage in some. But texts and phone calls and Marco Polos and Zooms are a miserable substitute for the serotonin boost of a friend’s warm smile and enveloping hug. Plus, does anyone really crave more screen time these days?
This content was originally published here.