This morning was the 142nd day of pandemic-related isolation. 21 weeks later, I look back and see how everything that was strange in March, feels almost normal in July. Whether it is going to restaurants, getting in an Uber, or meeting with acquaintances—- somehow it has become a distant memory. I don’t miss any of it.
These weeks have been a great A/B test in relationships and friendships. Social distancing might have given us space to revaluate what and who is important. For me, there is a little pod of friends that I see on a weekly basis. There are about a dozen of us. Most of them are hardcore isolators like me — they all at some point have been tested and retested. We meet outside for a coffee and a chat. Even the most mundane aspect of our week seems interesting as if reinforcing the value of real-life interactions.
The new reality means new rituals and routines. If anything, I have taken to intermittent fasting (with the help of Zero App) and, as a result, feel more focused and energetic. Somehow it has helped manage the anxiety and the ambient stress and pushed me into living in the flow. This fasting and using a probiotic formulation from Pendulum, I have wrangled my sugar levels to the point that I am off insulin.
A bigger change has been fasting from social media. After Facebook, Instagram, and Snap, I am not slowly weaning myself off Twitter as well. I suppose this is helping me focus on reading the longer form writings — magazine articles and books to be specific. It is hard to notice, but short tweet-length bites of information can start to have an impact on one’s ability to think critically and focus on the right stuff.
Still, the media diet isn’t enough for me to ignore the more significant and societal challenges that are mounting by the day. The pandemic is ripping off the mask of a pretense of power from the face of America. We have over 140,000 dead, and there is no consequence.
I find that frustrating that in a time when we need to be together for each other, politics and tribalism have ruptured the society. There is such pervasive cynicism and lack of trust in not only our institutions but it is now starting to spread amongst each other. This lack of trust is coming at a time when we need collective societal trust to get on the other side of a multitude of crises coming at us – the health crisis, the economic crisis, the social crisis, the geopolitical crisis, and the morality crisis.
We can blame technology platforms. We can point fingers at politicians capitalizing on our fears. But in the end, the only hope for a better tomorrow is us — how we react to the crisis. I hope we can find a way forward from this — and pull back from the brink of unbridled selfishness and narcissism in society.
21 weeks later, I refuse to let this negativity become the new normal for me — I am hoping and aspiring for something better.
July 21, 2020. San Francisco
Recommended Read: “What headlines you see is decided not by a hard-bitten front-page editor but instead by layers of algorithms designed to pick what’s news and who should be shown it. “ Anatomy of a fake headline/ The Markup