Lessons from the Coronavirus Pandemic: Controlling who gets in

I finally was able to put into words today what I’ve been thinking since the shutdown started.

There has been a lot of discussion among friends, family and electronic connections about the introverted and extroverted responses to social isolation.

The introverts love it.

The extroverts might need strait jackets soon.

Compared to the teenager’s father—with whom I lived with for 20 years and neither one of us has filed for divorce yet despite living apart for the last nine months—I am not an introvert, but I do have empathic qualities so I need to be careful how I spend my time.

I wonder if my anxieties in life come from the energy I absorb from the world and people around me, and if that is why I spend time in balanced chunks of “alone in my room” vs. “with family and friends” vs. “with the outside world at large.”

I know that’s why I struggled with my job in retail.

But today, when walking with a neighbor after a day that challenged me, I realized why this pandemic has preserved my sanity.

I suddenly have control over who I let into my space. Complete control. Sure, work meetings over the phone can still be stressful but there is a physical distance that makes me feel safe.

I can’t go out arbitrarily. Or I shouldn’t. I have to plan my outings and chose where and when I go.

I control who I reach out to and who I let into my life. I certainly control who comes into my home.

Maybe I should practice some of these techniques after Covid-19 passes and protect my emotional space.

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