It is May 19, 2020. My daughters’ school has been closed for over two months now due to COVID-19, and I, like millions of others, have been “homeschooling” my kids now for what feels like forever. I am using quotation marks around the term homeschooling because what we are doing really is not homeschooling at all; it is screen-based, technology dependent, largely solitary distance learning, or as I call it inside my own head, Lonely Learning.
Please do not think for one minute that I am ungrateful for all that my children’s school, teachers, teachers aids, and administrators have done for us. They have been, and continue to be, superheroes in every possible way. They have imagined and re-imagined, invented and re-invented new ways to teach, connect, and engage in the midst of an absolute crap situation. I admire them beyond words and am so grateful for every ounce of effort and love that they have put into their jobs.
But the fact remains, this shit is lonely.
And I personally am finding that this particular brand of loneliness never seems to stop revealing itself. It just keeps unfolding: each day a new shade, another shape, a different hue from the day before.
And while I myself feel lonely, I am also feeling lonely for my children. Every time I watch them meet with their class on Zoom or have a “playdate” on Google Hangouts or some other platform that I myself can barely navigate, my heart breaks a little. I am probably being ridiculous, showing my age, and revealing a bit of my own inner Luddite, but dammit if it doesn’t make me sad. And lonely.
In the last post, I talked about letting my yoga be a space for grief and gratitude to hold hands. I think I probably need to invite loneliness to that party as well. And it certainly won’t be the first (or last) time that loneliness occupies a lot of space on my yoga mat.
Especially in my early years of training and teaching, there were times when the loneliness felt overwhelming. It was magnified by the fact that I was never actually alone. I was living in New York City for the first time and constantly surrounded by millions of other people. I had experienced loneliness before, but it was different feeling it in a crowd.
Now there are no crowds. Now I have the benefit of two additional decades of living. Now I am a mother. This is a different kind of lonely. It is a quieter one, a more bearable one, but in many ways a deeper one. It isn’t just my daughters that are tasked with Lonely Learning; I know I have a lot of it to do myself. And certainly this stupid virus has given me the time to do it.
Now I just need to show up on the mat and get started.
Feel free to join me. We can be lonely together.