It’s been an odd August, folks.
More than once this month I have thanked the ether for the strange way that my life has prepared me to flourish during a long-term crisis such as a pandemic. While those around me have faltered in their steadiness, I’ve been a strange creature, my life greatly unchanged by the storm.
I’ve been working on accepting that the reason “I’m okay when everything is not okay,” is because I learned to adapt to the feeling of constant crisis when I was a child. The strength I developed from those times has become the ease with which I am able to navigate the currents of 2020. Does this make me lucky? No; just a cockroach thriving in a land of shit at the end of the world. I survive because it’s my habit to do so.
Cheery, isn’t it?
But the pandemic has given me a lot, too. It’s helped me be more at peace with who I am and what I want from life.
The pandemic has taught me that my love languages aren’t actually gifts and acts of service — those are my love languages in a more functional world. In this world, my needs, like many others, are more basic — my love languages are quality time and touch. Oddly, quality time wins out over touch.
Because of spending so much of my life in isolation, though I crave touch, I can thrive by fulfilling that need in other ways. But as an extrovert, I don’t last long without quality time spent with others. Having been more or less a shut-in for several years and living alone for the better part of the last three years, quality time means far different things to me than it does to most people.
I get a lot of fulfillment from a phone or video call, texting throughout the day, sending links to read and photos to look at and videos to watch, sharing playlists, cooking meals together, playing games, sexy times if it’s that kind of relationship, heart to hearts, and hell, I’ve even taken naps and showers and baths on camera with my long distance loved ones over the years.
When you can’t be there and you really want to be together, you find a way to talk it through and make it work. Sure, there are times when it’s hard and your body yearns and aches to be touched, but if it’s between that and an unfulfilling match? Too many times I’ve settled for what little happiness I could get through an ill-suited pairing; times that left my body and heart yearning and aching for someone or something different, anyway. I’m tired of that, of settling. I’d rather spend the rest of the pandemic/my life with a person I’m unable to touch than be with someone who leaves me wanting more.
“I’d rather be lonely from being alone than lonely from being with the wrong person.”Joan Price, sex and ageing educator