After my move out to Central Alberta, post-university, I found myself having to maintain my friendships in a whole new way.
Instead of being able to take the five minute walk down the street, or go for a 4 a.m. diner breakfast after a day of binge watching truly random shows on Netflix, those relationships now solely rely on long distance means.
Constant streams of texts, and of course memes, has been the easiest method to fit with various time zones and work schedules with the occasional phone call if something big were to happen in one of our lives.
Of course, FaceTime brings us together virtually as much as possible, but finding a time to all sign-in and chat is usually a challenge; especially with my best friends being in Toronto and Vancouver.
Despite the circumstances, I am still happy with how our friendships are holding up. I know they are there for me whenever I need them to be, but selfishly, I’m taking advantage of everyone working from home.
The COVID-19 pandemic began and continues to rock the nation and world in a devastating way with a very uncertain end date, but we must look to find positivity among the negativity.
For me, the positivity in this troubling time has been the ability to connect with my friends more as they all work from home.
Weekly catch-ups have turned into several days a week and a recurring virtual wine night each Saturday.
Last weekend we even celebrated a birthday with a surprise cake delivered while we were on the call!
Talking to their faces on my laptop screen isn’t the same as being in the same room as them, goofing off on the weekends like we used to, but it’s close enough.
We use the time to play games, gossip and just share support as we try to navigate this new normal.
I’ve even been able to chat with old friends I haven’t connected with in a while!
“Practise social distancing” and “self-isolation” are phrases we see and hear all day, every day, and the idea of being alone can be daunting, but with technology now, the loneliness only needs to be physical.
Like the teachers and their students doing home learning and offices on Zoom meetings, we can all stay connected on a non-physical level.
We have so many outlets at our finger tips, whether it be social media, video chatting or the phone. It’s fairly easy to not be alone during this time.
Physically, yes, but spiritually, no.
These virtual hang outs with my friends are what I look forward to the most right now, as they are a few hours where I can be happy and laugh and forget about the stress of the world.
The moral of this long-winded story? Use the opportunities your free schedule is providing to call friends and family to work on staying connected.
Odds are they’re feeling the same way you are.
Kaylen Whibbs is a reporter with the Sylvan Lake News.