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OPINION

Good Morning: Socializing during COVID-19

Michael Hutchins
Herald Democrat
Michael Hutchins

The last year has been a time of change and adaptation for many people as we have all adjusted to a world during COVID-19. When we look back in history at this time, I think we will see it as a point where everything changed down to how we live our everyday lives.

For me, the biggest change has been to how I interact with my friends and family. In the age of COVID-19, I have gone mostly virtual when it comes to meeting with friends and family members.

Over the past year, a lot of interactions have gone online; meetings are held over Zoom, many teachers are teaching class virtually using technology, and even doctors are using various means to treat patients while staying safe. It is only natural that other aspects of life would also go virtual in these odd times.

I wrote previously how 2020 was the year of virtual holidays in the Hutchins family. We did not have a formal gathering, and instead met and held many of our normal festivities online. I watched a movie with my dad on Christmas eve, and ate a virtual dinner with family on Thanksgiving.

In many ways, the same thing has happened with hanging out with friends. In recent weeks a group of my close friends have gravitated into an online group and shared chat room so we can continue to talk and chat like we normally would while staying apart.

However, it has grown beyond that recently. Initially, it started as a small circle of friends who I know personally. However, those friends soon invited friends, who invited friends of their own. Now, after getting to know them, those friends of friends are friends in their own right.

In a way, I think it has become something of a support network for many. Some are facing unusual times: some are working from home for the first time and still adjusting to that, others are are out of work for the first time in their lives. Others still are adjusting to quarantine and a muted social life.

The situation isn't ideal for anyone. However, I feel there is still value in this. It is a return to some level of normality for some and a reminder that others out there are going through the same thing, even while we are all alone.