"Scatterings"….Eyes Wide Open



"Scatterings"….Eyes Wide Open

By:

L.T. Force, Ph.D.

Gerontologist

This last year has been disruptive for all of us - on so many levels. For some, as a result of the appearance of COVID - there have been some minor inconveniences to the rhythm of their day. For others, there has been a major impact on: finances, shelter, food and a sense of predictability. And for others, there has been: "a devastating and profound sense of loss and grief with respect to family and friends being swallowed by this pandemic". This pandemic is a silent foe - you can’t see it - it’s invisible - until it touches you - and then you can’t stop seeing it. Regardless of where you are in the range of impact, COVID - has had a “scattering effect”on all of us.


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The definition of scattering: `

scat·ter·ing

/ˈskad(ə)riNG/

noun

noun: scattering; plural noun: scatterings

an act of scattering something. a small, dispersed amount of something."the scattering of freckles across her cheeks and forehead" Similar: handful few one or two sprinkling, dusting, smattering, smatter PHYSICS the process in which electromagnetic radiation or particles are deflected or diffused.

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All of us have been: “scattered upon’” and “COVIDIZED” in this COVID World. Rituals, traditions. mores have been uprooted. Handshakes, social hugging, a kiss-on-the-cheek have been banished for generations now.... and generations ahead of us.


I remember in February of 2020, attending a National Conference in Washington, DC and being taken by the presence of a couple dining in the hotel restaurant wearing face-coverings....they looked so out of place. Today. one year later, if you were to come across a couple eating inside a restaurant - and they didn’t have a face mask on - you would give pause - and you would probably shoot them a set of: “condescending eyes”. Speaking of “eyes” the one area of social engagement that has been solidified and flourished is: “eye-contact”. With all of the social-exchanges going by the wayside - now with our face masks tethered to our ears - the one way we can still connect and communicate is with “eye-contact”. The COVID quarantine has enhanced our need and our ability to look each other in the eye....this social engagement ritual will strengthen and continue - even once when we remove our “face-shields”....and as we try to find new ways that work to communicate.

Beyond the “scatterings of social engagement”....other interpersonal rituals have been impacted. Yes, it is true, everyone has a heightened sense of anxiety and stress. Certain industries have been devastated (restaurants and service industries) and certain industries have flourished (home-gym equipment and home-food delivery). The impact and reconfiguration of: "the relationship of person-to-industry” has also morphed over to the impact and reconfiguration of: “person-to-person exchanges”. In my practice, and in my own personal life, I have heard the stories and witnessed and felt them myself of: “lifelong friends” dearly disappointing each other....by being absent....or being so “self-absorbed” and not being present for the concern of others.... to the other end of the spectrum....to the: development of strong-bonds between people that were once considered:

“just acquaintances”. It is more than coincidental that in times of: "a collective stress” that “old sayings surface”. For example:”When tough times come, you know who your true friends really are".. What I share with my clients, and what I try to now abide by myself, are the thoughts and actions: “that maybe that person was always like this and in times of turmoil - and with "the floodlight of chaos now beaming" you now just have the opportunity to see who they really are....and who they really have always been”. This is a time of heightened awareness and heightened sensitivity....but it is also a time of: "the need for heightened self-surveillance and self-protection". You need to protect yourself - now more than ever. As such, you welcome these new connections and new friendships into your life....and as well, you let the “disappointing friendships fade into the sunset". It is not worth the effort or time to invest in trying to: “make sense of something that doesn’t make sense”. Your energy and focus needs to be centered on: "reinforcing your own strength and perseverance....for your benefit, the benefit of your family and the benefit of: your true friends”.

I recently read a great quote on a LinkedIn Post last month...it said: “I no longer try to change the clowns....I just stop going to that circus” I love that quote - I would like to add another sentence to it:

”I no longer try to change the clowns....I just stop going to that circus....and I move on”.

So "scatterings"? So many “scatterings”...."both interpersonal and intrapersonal"...."industries have scattered....traditions have scattered.....friends have scattered."....and now we move on....looking for the opposites.... the antonyms of “scatterings”....to help strengthen us....to help guide us....as we navigate this new world....


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....and as we are moving on....we are looking into each other’s eyes...."eyes wide open"….

and moving on....

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