Thoughts on Socializing in 2020

The balagan of 2020 has had me on a rollercoaster of emotions. It’s one thing to be flexible, but when every second is a potential fight-or-flight, its very unsettling It feels safer to be at home, insulated within the coziness of my nest, surrounded by things that “spark joy” and bring comfort. Saturday evening after Shabbos ended, I ventured out of my comfort zone and went to a social event “within Corona guidelines”.

The travel time was one flight of stairs up and the attendees were the eight women who live in my building. For the first time since February, I was socializing on a Saturday night. The occasion was two-fold: to celebrate Yud Tet Kislev, the “Rosh Hashana of Chassidism” and a goodbye party for a neighbor who is moving.

What struck me as interesting was the “reintegration” of being social. The questions running through my mind were: Am I sitting to close? Is it ok to take my mask off? Is asking “How have you been?” a loaded question? In any event, it reminded me of a first date until everyone loosens up a bit.

As we sat around the table learning stories from Tanya, eating, and singing tehilim (psalms), our varied backgrounds never cease to amaze me, as we all are living in the same building. There’s me, a former Chicagoan. The others come from New York, Belgium, France, Morocco, Yemen, and Argentina.

So while 2020 has had its share of isolating experiences, it has also brought both neighbors and community closer together with all the kindnesses and chesed. Though 2020 has wrought havoc in all aspects of being, there has definitely been revealed good. My social night out is a testament to that.

Thanks for reading,
Karen


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