With all this extra time on our hands, we’ve had a few moments recently to reflect on precious memories. Let’s face it – we’ve had more than a few! But that’s not necessarily a bad thing. Memories are a coping mechanism, especially pleasant ones and one recent flashback has us thinking of a return to the good old days, when neighbours knew one another and stepping out our front door or on to the balcony often resulted in a friendly nod or a smile. I‘m talking about a sense of community and I’m suggesting our current CoVid crisis is actually the ideal time for us to bring back an old tradition while still maintaining safe social distancing. It’s time to visit from your verandah again!
Facetime in Realtime!
Recently we chatted with some friends and family and even the spouse of Amintro founder Charlene Nadalin. Joe says he fondly recalls what it was like growing up just off St. Clair Ave. in Toronto during the 1960s and early ‘70s. It was a location not unlike many others around the globe; where the neighborhood families gathered on porches, verandahs and front stoops to chat, help watch out for ALL the children, and where a true sense of community was fostered. Everyone knew one another, even if only peripherally. A nod, a smile and a friendly wave might be all that happened some evenings, while other times a “porch party” might break out spontaneously. Being in the midst of a pandemic we might not be able to “party” right now but there really is no reason we can’t practice some good old fashioned “facetime in real time” by a return to hanging out on our porches, balconies and verandahs.
Physical vs. Social Distancing
I think, more than anything, what seems to be slowly emerging as a positive side to this pandemic is our dawning realization of what truly matters most. That is, our family, our friends and yes, our sense of community and caring for one another. We are even seeing a change in the language used by official news sources; many of whom are now referring to “physical distancing” rather than “social distancing,” in an ongoing effort to be more inclusive and to help people realize that there are still ways we can “get together” while remaining safely apart. For many of us around the world, and certainly here in North America, the weather is slowly getting warmer and the urge to go outside and enjoy some sunshine and Vitamin D is strong. Add in the sense of being cooped up for days, either alone or with family (not sure which of those scenarios is harder!) and some porch or patio time looks more and more desirable.
Porches, Patios and Pandemics
What all this boils down too, in our humble opinion, is a good excuse for those of us who are 50+ to model a new behaviour for the younger cohort: a “return to the good old days.” Venture outside as far as permissible under the current CoVid 19 guidelines that apply in your community. Sit on your front porch, stand on the steps, take in the view from your verandah or bask in the sunshine from your balcony. But while you do, shout a friendly hello to those you see around you. Comments about the weather are always a good conversation starter and right now, asking after your neighbors and how they are coping with this crisis is just the right thing to do. Kids are allowed outside to play (siblings together or with friends across driveways and from a distance) and we’d encourage you to take this time to get to know your neighbors and their children better. Step outside, whether it’s after dinner or anytime during a warm, spring weekend. If all neighbors were to come out of their homes, emerge on to porches and patios, and chat with one another, don’t you think this would help build community? Just like it was – back in the good old days.