It’s been so long since I’ve had a hug that I put my hug-o-meter in the basement next to the Christmas ornaments. Maybe by the time the holidays roll around we’ll be able to safely hug someone again. If not, I may buy one of those live-size Christmas bears and put it on my couch to keep me company.

Have You Caught Up with Old Friends?

On the other hand, I’ve been hanging out with girlfriends I’d all but lost touch with before the pandemic set in! The ease and practicality of connecting with friends on virtual platforms like ZOOM and DISCORD is so convenient. It’s been fun to schedule weekly “cocktail hours” and “wine and whines.”

Is a renewed closeness with your girlfriends reassuring to you during this time of isolation and social distancing? It’s been very comforting to me. Plus, I just genuinely enjoy learning what the last 5 to 10 years of their lives have been like.

My friends are all over the country (and the world) and in-person visits are few and far between under the best of circumstances. Needless to say, this is not the “best of times” for in-person travel and visitation.

Two of my friends became grandmothers in our years apart. I missed the baby pics but caught back up with them in time to see “the first steps” and toddler playground romps. A few more had breakups I didn’t know about. Put my foot right in my mouth by asking about the spouse. Oops.

The other thing we’d missed out on was each other’s big 6-0 birthdays. We were 50-somethings the last time we connected and now here we are, growing older together.

Have You Noticed How Wise Your Friends Are Now?

Along with birthdays passing at the speed of light, we’re also entering our wisdom time. It is astonishing how wise my friends are now! I always knew they were smart, but now they are sages!

When I complain that my son has been dating the same woman for six years, they say, “Don’t pressure him to get married. Men don’t even know who they are at 25. He’s young yet.”

Or they’ll tell me to take it easy on myself when I name how much weight I “need” to lose or talk about getting plastic surgery in Mexico. “Stop worrying about how you look! You are an amazing woman, an all-around great gal.”

Do your girlfriends help you feel better about yourself, too? Do they help you see the real you? We need all the reinforcement we can get. When the advertising world says wrinkle-free, skinny grey-haired women are the norm, having a girlfriend remind you that you’re beautiful is pretty powerful stuff!

Using Any New Technology?

I’m a little embarrassed that it took a pandemic to get me to try ZOOM and GOOGLE Hang-Outs. I’d heard about them for years, but I never really had a reason to test them out.

To contact someone and say, “Hey, let’s look at each other on the computer tonight!” (In fact, the thought of that felt a little weird and voyeuristic.) Now I’m an old pro at setting up a meeting or making a FaceTime® call for a cocktail chat on my phone.

I loved going to the movies but Covid has turned me into a streamer, and I’ll binge-watch with a glass of wine until my eyes glaze over.

When I read that the Metropolitan Opera and the American Ballet Theatre both had online offerings, I spent several nights reveling in the arts.

I watched Mignon from the Met and even saw glimpses of dancers sans their tights and tutus. Like this fun, “filmed at home” offering from the ABT and the San Francisco Ballet:

All this online viewing has only made me more interested in purchasing next season’s tickets and grabbing a popcorn at the local movie house before spending two hours of sheer bliss watching a stage or big screen performance.

I appreciate the efforts of these artists to feed our souls while they’re having difficulty feeding themselves. It says a lot about who these artists are and why they do what they do.

Are You Metamorphosizing?

I feel like a butterfly that is in its final instar, shedding my old exoskeleton and becoming someone new. I even recorded my thoughts about my journey.

I have new ways of interacting with my friends and new ways of entertaining myself at home!

Are You Getting a Pandemic Perspective?

I’m comfortable in a mask and can see six feet in my mind with or without the X’s pasted on the floor. I wash my hands at least five times a day as I hear “Happy Birthday” playing in my head.

New habits of safety and careful interaction are replacing old feelings of paranoia.

What new ways of interacting are you embracing during isolation and necessary social distancing? Has new technology connected you with an old friend? What is your perception of this new stage of our evolution? Please share your thoughts with the community!

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