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  • Writer's pictureRachel Bennett

Thank You, Joan Osborne

Hey girl? You wanna go to see Joan Osborne with me?

This was something I really didn’t think would ever come out of my mouth. I’d listened to one album that she made back in 1995 or 96, but the idea of grabbing some time with some girlfriends appealed to me. So, I texted my friend Katie and she was down. So, it was a date.

Katie and I have known each other since middle school. We didn’t hang out outside of school for those three years. And passed each other in the hallway in high school. So, to say that we grew up as tight friends is not a realistic statement. And that was not unusual with over 3,000 kids in our high school. But as the years have gone by and we see each other at high school reunions, we started communicating more. Over the last year we keep threatening to get out and do something together. So, it just made sense to invite.

Then I asked Katie who else should come. And we grabbed our friend, Ellen.

Now this girl, same. We met in middle school. (Actually, the three of us were in the band together, so yes… band nerds can be cool). And we had the same sort of relationship. And in the same way we got connected from reunions and following one another on social media. We realized that we have so much in common. So that made sense too.

So, over the last month or so we’ve texted back and forth about how we’re excited to see each other and get out to do something different. We made plans for dinner. Stressed about how the change in weather mandated a planned wardrobe change. But the day was finally here. We sat across from one another at the table with our glasses of whatever we were drinking and caught up. We talked about our lives, our families, our travels. We got caught up on people that we knew and went down the “remember that time” reel.

There was one part of the conversation that really struck a chord. It was when we started talking about how we used to get out with friends a lot more, but it’s still not the same since the beginning of COVID. And how we really missed that. Some of us had standing dates with friends that still hadn’t made their way back to the calendar. Some of us now have different priorities as our kids have gotten older and have more activities. Or honestly just that our families have been really used to having us home 24/7 and it’s not a routine thing to get out. But the theme of the conversation was how much we all missed seeing our people. The people we saw on a regular basis before 2020.

I remember at the start of the pandemic; I went through a deep dive into a personal grief. I knew that life wouldn’t be normal again. Well, I didn’t know, but I knew. And I think now that we’re 3 years into this new phase of life, we’re really starting to understand how much that has changed. And we’ve been forced to cope with that. The stages of grief can be clearly seen on social media. Zoom happy hours turned to banana bread. Banana bread turned into a new hobby or a network marketing side-gig. Hobbies turned into new routines that were centered around our families or solitude. Our social circles then became smaller as we built tribes instead of wide social circles. Or maybe our social circles were based on social media instead of physically seeing one another. And now that the world has been opening back up, our old connections are no longer connected. So, now we’re still grieving. Because we thought we could go back to the way we were before but that seems to be far from the reality we’re experiencing now.

At one point in the night, I just felt so thankful. Thankful that they said yes because I really missed connecting with people. And this was so fun. We laughed…. hard. Sometimes at others expense, but that’s ok. We made stupid jokes and acted like annoying teenagers. We attempted to take amazing selfies… didn’t work. And then made a point to commit to getting together more. And even though it was just a simple night out with some friends, I was just thankful. My heart needed it. Simple as that.

Connection is something I didn’t realize I needed so much until I had lost a bit of it. With the separation of COVID I had become ok with only have social connection through my phone or computer screen. I’d filled my social time with other things like work, exercise, and a new venture into health coaching. There was that hope that things would get back to normal. But when it didn’t happen as soon as we’d all hoped, we started to lose that hope. I have friendships that were tight. Mainly because we got to see each other so often. Now not to say that they’re not tight anymore, but it’s not the same when you can’t be in the same room as someone for an incredibly long time. And I’ve learned over my life of moving around that strong friendships have seasons and it’s ok to make new ones. Or revisit old ones and let them grow.

I got a little bit of that connection this week in old friendships revisited. So, thank you, Joan Osborne.

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