New Pandemic Friends and the Year of Shedding Relationships
I came into 2020 with a totally different social circle than I am leaving it
As I stood outside the community center in DC waiting for my daughter to be released from her day camp, two other parents wearing bandanas over their faces were clearly smiling at me. They spoke to me, which was wild. People didn’t seem to speak to strangers anymore. It was so refreshing. They said hello and told me their daughters talked about my daughter every day. We became instant friends. They are among my best friends now.
During 2020, I blocked and deleted more people from Facebook than I ever had in my life before this. I found out who shared my views on life and what it means to be alive. I found out who was the source of toxicity which was not beneficial at all to my path.
I attracted and rekindled relationships which are beneficial. There is hope because some people get me. I stick with them.
Make friends who are at the same level of fear as you
I learned early in the pandemic that the ‘crisis’ triggered fear in people at different levels. I was not fearful of contracting a virus when outdoors, but people in my neighborhood consistently yelled at me in public for walking around without one. I saw a father call the police on another father at a playground, and that was my last straw. I realized I was surrounded by people who didn’t share my level of fear, and there was no path forward in a relationship of any kind with such people.
So, I moved.
My friends who I met outside the camp when we were waiting for our daughters offer a breath of fresh air amid a world in chaos. They read the science that I read. They make decisions based on the same risk assessment. This attraction between us will last beyond the pandemic. I’ve seen that what matters is that the people with whom I surround myself approach life the same way I do — with an acceptance of certain risks and a conscious choice not to give in to fear.
Family members who stood out
I have a cousin who emerged in 2020 as a person who shares all my most important views of life. Before 2020, I was too focused on material things and my ego to make this connection. By cutting down on other relationships and social “noise” in my vicinity, I could finally see what is important.
I am so glad that I was finally able to see clearly, like looking at things after dust settles. She is clearly an important catalyst for my self-development. I should have never focused on anything but the environment, creativity, spirituality, and ancient wisdom. But this year has allowed me to see this, with her finally in focus.
This year I also shed a marriage. With all the time at home, it became blatantly obvious that things weren’t working. Without distractions of the daily routine, taking my daughter to school and then going to work, and filling weekends with activities — the problems I’d been deceiving myself over became obvious.
After months of seeing that the person I’d chosen to be with wasn’t working, I was able to sum up my courage and make it end.
I truly believe that this year has been a cure for us all. The people you are around are giving you their energy, and if that energy isn’t good, you should change it. Nothing was as impactful as COVID-19 on our ability to choose what and who to focus on. It’s okay to change your crew. If you’ve found yourself in my position in 2020, feel no guilt that you took steps to distance yourself from cycles that weren't working for you.