I once hated the virtual world. Social media can be a platform for the most intolerable people to say the most intolerable things, whilst hiding behind their keyboards engaging with their keys before their brains. Not only that, but the barrage of Kim Kardashian wannabes and narcissistic culture it creates is worrying for society. My boyfriend believes social media is a positive place. I agree somewhat as it is a platform for communication after all and it can facilitate community and innovative ideas, but I do worry about the decrease of personal interaction for many, especially amongst our youths. Fast forward to the future, after several generations of socialisation, there we all are interacting, virtually, using unimaginable technologies and not appreciating nature’s beauty and the finer things in life. However, during recent events it seems the virtual world is indeed needed.
A wonderful thing to come out of this grim situation is a community who are pulling together to help and provide aid during lockdown. So much so, it seems there is more help being offered than there are people who need it. I do hope this is true and may it continue. Most prominent is the rise in virtual social events. Virtual drinks are the new way to socialise and I have a few lined up already. I am even planning to throw a virtual birthday party for my 9-year-old next week.
Along with virtual drinks being arranged via friends and families, there are other events to get involved with to beat boredom and alienation: Various pub quizzes, live streaming of music events, Netflix offering tips on how to arrange a movie night and many more. Have a look on social media and get planning.
Whilst we are all doing our best to stay in touch with each other we should remember how virtual we will become and remember that fresh air and close connection with other humans are a much-needed concept. I’m not saying to rush out to the local park or countryside (not after government guidelines on the 23rd of March) or get in close contact with someone you shouldn’t, but we would benefit from balancing our social distancing and our increase of virtual living. We should take the opportunity to read those books we have wanted to, listen to the long list of bands we haven’t yet, or sit in the garden and soak in the vitamin D. Meersbrookers have been blessed with musicians performing together in their own gardens and I would like to see a date being set for a Sheffield mass garden party when the weather picks up. There is an upcoming national event to applaud the NHS staff who are selflessly caring for our sick on the front line. This event will take place on 26th March at 8pm, we are to applaud from our gardens, back doors, windows, balconies or living rooms.
Time seems to be a theme. Some are working tirelessly to treat the sick or are key workers or are trying to find a vaccine. Most of us are social distancing to lessen the spread of the virus. The world has slowed down and for most of us we’ve gone back to basics as it is no longer necessary to live life at full speed. As I look out of my window, I can see the sun shining and people interacting over their garden walls. The blossom tree is in bloom. I can hear laughter seeping through the open window, and I smell spring. No expectation to look perfect. Let your hair dry naturally, wear your comfy clothes, get the washing on the line in your own time, listen to your children and families and watch as they laugh. Embrace them. Where possible, wake when it’s natural, no need to jump out of bed so urgently. If your job is to socially distance yourself then I hope you can find the positives in doing so and assist in the fight to halt this global challenge.
By Katie Brear @KatieBrear on Twitter