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Coming together through social distancing

MACDILL AIR FORCE BASE, Fla. --

Troubled times tend to amplify both the positives and the negatives in humanity. And while social media focuses on the negatives, amid the severity of the current situation, a beautiful thing is occurring.

We are physically more isolated from each other than we have ever been, but I believe this time of crisis and social distancing is ultimately bringing us together.

COVID-19 does not differentiate when it comes to race, religion or social status. We are beginning to realize that we are all in this together (cue High School Musical song). As a result, we are becoming increasingly kind toward each other.

Even though I am seeing people panicking and hoarding supplies, I am also seeing neighbors helping each other. Even though I am seeing people behave carelessly, I am also seeing support groups popping up everywhere. A lot of acts of kindness are happening around us at all times. And while these acts of kindness might not get our attention as much as people fighting over toilet paper, we should continue to perform them as much as we can.

The most noticeable development is that we are checking in on each other more often.

Regardless of what any introvert says, humans are social creatures and we need to communicate to survive. Where we could send a quick text before, many of us are choosing to make a phone call. FaceTime dates are becoming the best option to socialize while protecting the safety of everyone involved.

My family has had two birthdays since the quarantine started. We got about 20 of us to join a group FaceTime for both of them. It was a mess! But we were all together despite our physical distance. We also revived an old WhatsApp family chat, where we can all share memes or argue about politics or just plain roast each other. It feels like time has stopped and somehow reverted back to when I was growing up with my cousins all together.

We are now more than ever finding ways to remain connected with those who matter in our lives because we understand that they can be gone at any moment in a crisis such as this.

It is difficult to predict how the COVID-19 crisis will evolve. Things might get worse before they get any better. We face more challenging times ahead, but eventually, things will go back to normal. Like everyone, I hope this happens soon. I miss complaining about how tired I am or how much I “love” my job. But mostly, I hope that when that day comes, we remember this crisis as one that brought us together and made us kind to each other. The challenge will be to keep it that way while we go back to our daily lives.