Hello, friends!

So I don’t like to say mean or hurtful things, not about anyone nor anything.  But at this point, after everything we’ve all been through in the past year or so, I can’t help myself.  This message needs to be heard:

It’s been almost a week now that I’ve been fully immunized against COVID-19.  For those of you who may be curious, I got the Modern vaccine.

I’m hesitant to say that the pandemic is winding down or that COVID is going away.  But I do feel like COVID will be less of a threat going forward, and we can safely (or semi-safely) start getting back to our old lives.  With that in mind, I think this is a good time to reflect on some of the lessons learned during the pandemic.

For me personally, the #1 lesson I learned is that I’m not as much of an introvert as I thought.  For most of my life, I’ve felt happiest when I’m alone and loneliest when I’m in a crowd.  Social interactions—even with people I like—tend to leave me feeling drained.  And that’s pretty much the textbook definition of introversion.

So when the pandemic started, I was secretly thrilled.  Social distancing sounded like a dream come true.  I thought I was going to write all the things, and draw all the things, and read all the books, and build all the Lego sets.  But being totally isolated from the rest of humanity—turns out that, for me, was a pretty draining experience, too.  Being alone all the time is almost as draining as being at a crowded and noisy party with a bunch of highly judgmental people.

Now that I’m fully immunized, and as more and more people are joining the fully immunized club, I am just so gosh darn eager to talk to somebody—anybody!  For the first time in my life, I’m acting almost like an extrovert. Yes, I do want to talk about the weather and the local sports team!  Yes, please do tell me how your kids are holding up!  And your opinions about politics?  Actually, no.  I still don’t want to have that conversation, thanks.

Maybe this is a temporary thing.  In fact, I’m sure it’s a temporary thing and that my introverted ways will gradually start to reassert themselves.  But still, a lesson was learned.  I’m not as much of an introvert as I thought, and maybe a little social activity is good for me after all.

What lessons did you learn from the pandemic?

26 responses »

  1. Kate Rauner says:

    My introvert status has remained intact. I’ve learned a sad lesson: more of my fellow adult citizens are childish than I knew. “I DON’T WANNA wear a mask. You CAN’T MAKE ME.”

    I guess it shouldn’t be a surprise. Think of how long it took to make wearing your seat belt the norm. Humans! Go figure.

    Liked by 2 people

    • J.S. Pailly says:

      There’s a quote that I first picked up from Asimov, though I think it originally came from somebody else: “Against stupidity, the gods themselves contend in vain.” That’s probably second biggest lesson I learned (or re-learned) in all this.

      Liked by 2 people

  2. alexjcavanaugh says:

    Who knows? You might find you like being a bit more outgoing.
    Not a lot changed for me since I worked through the whole thing. But I did learn how evil some of our media is and how far they’ll go to disrupt our lives.

    Liked by 2 people

  3. I’m glad you’re immunized! I got my first jab of Pfizer last week and in Canada the schedules are such that I’ll get my second in late August/early September, so the pandemic isn’t close to over here and a lot of provinces have locked down again.

    As for lessons, I guess I’ve learned a lot about human natures, perspectives, and how susceptible we are to cult mentality. Speaking as someone who escaped from a cult at 16, it’s been a chilling year. I had to cut ties with an old friend who led/leads an anti-science campaign in my hometown and, yeah, all the signs were/are there, all the same subtle manipulations I grew up thinking was normal human interaction. And I never thought I’d write much about those personal experiences in my fiction so long as my in-cult family members are still alive, but this year I can’t keep those experiences OUT of my stories, so it’s been a weird catalyst. I guess I’ve learned that it’s more important to speak out than to protect the people who would rather I was silent. It’s been one h*ll of a year, James.

    Liked by 3 people

    • J.S. Pailly says:

      You know, I think it’s good that those experiences are getting into your stories. Those truths need to be shared, and your words may be read by someone else who’s struggling with the same things.

      Also, I happen to know that muses do not approve of self-censorship. Try to censor your own work, and the muse will get angry. You don’t want that.

      Liked by 2 people

      • Steven Rose, Jr. says:

        I’ve learned in my own writing that the muse may destroy your work if you censor your experiences out of it.

        Liked by 1 person

      • J.S. Pailly says:

        That’s my experience as well. I will admit there are some experiences in my past that are still a little too raw for me to write about explicitly. But if some of those memories somehow sneak their way into a story, I won’t take them out.

        Liked by 1 person

  4. I think my introvert nature remained firmly intact as well. Although I have to admit if I hadn’t had work meetings everyday over MS Teams and Zoom, I probably would have felt far more isolated and hungry for social interaction. But I talked with my direct reports every morning, and was in numerous meetings every week where we could see each other’s faces. That was enough to keep me feeling connected to others.

    I have to return to the office in June. I’m sure it’ll be interesting and novel at first, but I’m expecting to be over it pretty quick. I’m going to miss working remote. Although I’m not going to miss not being able to go anywhere. It’s been a relief to move around in public for the last month or so without having to be constantly on guard.

    Liked by 3 people

    • J.S. Pailly says:

      Where I work, I’m one of the few people who could not do my job remotely, so I’ve been going to the office throughout the whole pandemic. But there were very few other people in the building, and we all had to stay in our cordoned off areas as best we could. Essentially, I felt like I was all by myself in this big huge building, and I did not like that feeling.

      Liked by 2 people

      • I can see that. I know when I go into the office at night or on a weekend, I keenly feel the lack of anyone around. Spending a year like that would not have been fun. So I can definitely understand where you’re coming from.

        Liked by 1 person

  5. Ggreybeard says:

    One thing I learned during the pandemic was that handshaking may never return – but I’d like to know who the idiot was that thought elbow bumping was a socially acceptable alternative!

    Liked by 3 people

    • Kate Rauner says:

      I rather like the fist bump, and I’ve watched on TV our new secretary of defense do this forearm to forearm bump with military types (is it a military thing?) that looks way-cool.

      Liked by 1 person

    • J.S. Pailly says:

      I’m okay with handshakes not coming back. Even in the before-times, handshakes seemed kind of germ-y to me. Too many people have sweaty palms. Let’s just stick with fist bumps. I’m comfortable with fist bumps.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Kate Rauner says:

        Whenever I (as a woman) shook hands for the first time with a man, there was always that nerve wracking moment – will he use a firm grip cause I’m a person and that’s how hand shakes work, or a wimpy grip because I’m a woman and he’s trying to be polite. I’ve gotten pretty good at the instant response, but I still like the fist bump better.

        Liked by 1 person

      • J.S. Pailly says:

        That’s another reason I don’t like handshakes. With certain kinds of people, I feel like my manliness is being judged based on how strong my hand muscles are.

        Liked by 2 people

  6. Steven Rose, Jr. says:

    I learned from the pandemic that having been an introvert had prepared me for a year or so of social distancing. I didn’t feel like I was going to go nuts like a lot of people did. And if I did feel like I was getting too lonely then I would simply call or text family or friends. What has been getting to me is the lack of even online sff cons. Seemingly, somehow the pandemic has effected even online ones.

    Liked by 1 person

    • J.S. Pailly says:

      That’s surprising. Although now that I’m thinking about it, I didn’t hear anything from the smaller cons in my area. I’m guessing the bigger cons did okay switching over to virtual events, but the smaller ones must have taken a pretty big hit this year.

      Liked by 1 person

  7. debscarey says:

    How funny James, I’ve learned that I’m almost half-and-half on the introverted-extraverted scale now. I missed spending time with the important people in my life, but I am delighted to discover that I’m entirely OK with carrying out my business online – in fact, I’m considering not offering an in-person option in the future.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. I can’t wait for this to be over. We’re under a second lockdown in Canada. Haven’t had visitors in the home since late March 2020. It’s been sooooo long!

    Liked by 1 person

  9. I was secretly thrilled too when the pandemic once started.. I am what they call an extrovert but I think of myself an ambivert and oh boy I had a great fourth months.. and then things just got dark in my mind..
    My lesson was that I know I am truly an ambivert regardless of what others say

    Annnd this change, these lessons I think we’ll always take them with us. Sure you may reassert your introvertness but your extroverty percentage would have changed.. Does that make sense?

    Liked by 1 person

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