Restricted relationships during COVID-19

Facing the true nature of a world in constant chaos

Angela Ide, Opinions Editor

Illustration by Micky Floes-Nieves

The year 2020 started off with wildfires in Australia and rumors of political tensions rising between the United States and Iran. These tensions brought forth a real concern for the possibility of another major war in the US’s long history of wars. No matter how close this nation realistically got to becoming an active participant in a war that would have killed thousands upon thousands and hurt international relationships across the globe, the tension was eased and it just became an eerie beginning to the year.

Little did anyone know what was to come next.

Within a few months, a global pandemic became the major priority everywhere. With positive cases and deaths due to COVID-19 skyrocketing in Italy, America, and countless other places, the world shut down. People were urged to stay home to stay safe and to help keep their loved ones alive.

But as the month of October starts and some parts of the world are getting close to the one-year milestone from their first COVID-19 positive case, the social/cultural atmosphere is very different now.

Now that education, worksites, and family gatherings have all made their way to teleconferences, video calls, and shared screens, it seems clear that there are still plenty of amazing, wonderful moments to cherish and enjoy in the midst of this chaos.

Despite the restricted number of in-person human interactions, a person can find these days, the moments that are shared face-to-face experiences become exponentially deeper and more fully appreciated.

Countless hours with those who share in homes only serve as a band-aid for a bullet hole. It is a constant reminder of all the ways people used to spontaneously gather and simply exist amongst each other. Meals together and game nights ease the ache of endless isolation, but it could never replace what has been lost.

With all the time that each person has been given, without commutes, changed schedules, and online adaptations, everyone has the opportunity to “spring clean” their lives.

Relationships that have stalled out and have become additional burdens to all those involved are put into question. Those who are finding new ways to support and connect through the added difficulties of connection are bonding in deeper and more meaningful ways.

The beauty of this personal reorganization of life is nothing is out of the question and this is not out of the ordinary.

Family relations that have been manipulative, parasitic, abusive, dysfunctional, or just plain non-existent, are being put to the test. Are these relationships that need to be pursued or changed? Have the past issues that have been mentioned effectively been addressed or are the disagreements and conflict just a cycle?

Romantic interests are heightened as well. With everyone looking for new ways to feel connected to the outside world, finding someone who shares in your interests, and is dedicated to finding ways to build that connection is like a roaring fire in the midst of the blizzard.

Sadly, in a world where mortality is fully understood and the impermanence of life has become ever more obvious, some relationships clearly aren’t made to withstand the strain of the world falling apart.

Times like these reveal the true nature of everything; like loss.

Loss is rarely so well understood by an entire nation. The sorrows of missed celebrations, milestone moments canceled, and lives that ended without family members gathered around, runs to the core of every person who has lived through this year. Burdens of anger, frustration, stress, uncertainty, and the overwhelming anticipation of what comes next are almost unbearable.

But, the hidden gems of joy shine with more intensity because of the darkness framing them. The pure happiness that comes with a family coming together as one unit to support all of its members can become the foundation of relationships that will last a lifetime. Simply taking a walk and finding a new path to wonder across can bring peace abounding to the stress and anxiety that is rampant.

As the nation comes closer to short winter days and long, frozen nights, let us be reminded that the stars burn brightest when the moon is hiding and the light has faded beyond the horizon.