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With the increasing number COVID-19 patients, enhanced community quarantine and social distancing are being implemented and observed. Hearing about the term “social distancing” from the news reports, the first thing that popped into my head was the movie “Five Feet Apart”.
It’s a story about people with Cystic Fibrosis (CF) and, specifically, about two CF patients who ended up developing feelings for each other. But, they cannot be around other patients, who has the same disease, within 6 feet. If they do, the risk of their condition getting worse is higher and can even become fatal. The movie shows how important human interaction and touch is; how other people are so blessed for being capable of something as simple as that but is impossible for those with CF.
Don’t you think what’s happening to use right now is similar to the movie? Aren’t we reaching for the other side too?
Similar to the how the CF patients interact with each other in the movie, the only way to interact with our friends, relatives or special someone right now is through technology. Here we are, reaching for the other side, not just five feet apart but cities, towns and provinces apart. It probably feels very limiting, frustrating, suffocating or depressing even. At least we have technology to alleviate the feeling of loneliness.
More than anything, my heart goes out to the families of COVID-19 patients. The moment a patient tests positive, they can no longer see and be with their families and friends. And if their condition leads to death, patients are immediately cremated. Their ashes are the only thing their loved ones could see. To see and hold someone’s lifeless body already feels like being stabbed a million times over. What more when you can’t even do that? What’s more heartbreaking than not being able to say goodbye is the impossibility of reaching for the other side; because even if you call there will be no answer.
Most of us might have been taking this for granted, not knowing that people like CF patients can’t experience it like we do. “Whether it’s a hug, a peck on the cheek or a pat on the back, we need human touch “almost as much as we need air to breathe,” as the movie puts it. What would it be like not to be able to hug your family or friends?”
Because we can’t meet and be with some of our loved ones and friends, we are probably starting to miss the time when it was possible. We may normally be too preoccupied with being busy and tend to push many things for later. Most of us have deadlines to meet and many tasks on our to-do lists. And pushing human interaction for later has also become a habit.
Don’t save everything for later or “when you have time” because no one ever knows when it could be their last chance. Say it, show it and whatever your love language is, make your loved ones feel it while you can or regret it forever.
Human interaction is priceless. And now that we can’t have it, we miss it; we get to appreciate it. But, even without this pandemic we should put great value in human interaction; we need it more than we think. Many studies show that people who interact with others more are said to be happier and tend to have better mental and physical health. See, without it, we’re all going to be in deep trouble.
Imagine a life without human interaction (like how people we’re portrayed in the movie, Wall-E). It’s boring, depressing, meaningless and most of all, “lifeless”. As Lindsey Lazarte puts it, without physical human interaction, we lose our sense of real connection.
We are so hooked on the fruits of technology, which may have led us to prefer social media more than personal interactions. Connecting via social media is hassle-free, low-cost and can be done at our own convenience. It’s a sad and disappointing reality that I’m sure many of us have experienced during gatherings- we pay more attention to our phones and our virtual lives more than socialising in real life.
What do you think is more fulfilling, living your life thru social media or actually living your life? Ask yourself, can your cellphone hug you? Will your social media life tell you they miss and love you when you’re unable to log-in for days? I don’t think so. That is why one of the most important things we need to learn is how to start paying attention to our real lives and not just our virtual lives.
Our safety, our lives and our relationships are challenged by a pandemic. We should already be aware of how much we miss, want and need human interaction. It is priceless and is truly something we can’t live without; “we need it as much as we need air to breathe”.
We also have to appreciate the power of technology. It is good and useful, especially at a time like this. But, keep this in mind, do not to let it win over your attention when there’s an option to have a real connection with others. Let this awakening be one of the positive things this pandemic has brought into our lives.
It’s difficult but keep hoping and praying for this tough season to end soon.
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