Rebuilding social connectedness Decrapify style

The past few months have highlighted some strange trends in social connectedness. While the issue of “social distancing” with it’s funky elbow bump and curtsy have become Madonna’s Vogue, it has struck me that through times of pandemic we need each other more than ever. The media has been irresponsibly bombarding us with stories of us being selfish as we scramble and hoard the last dunny roll and packet of fettucine. People are connected creatures and if you are anything like me you need to get out, get moving and have a good old chin wag with mates!

Living with connection to the people around you, the home in which you live, the environment in which you exist physically has long been seen as the way to live a good life. For sure, it’s been a challenge of late with people going through the stress of job loss, businesses closing and some just mentally unable to justify the confusion and lack of direction provided by those supposedly in the know. So how else to get connected in a seemingly disconnected world? What strategies can we all use to ensure our well being, our kinship to others and our connectedness to community?

One strategy we have used is to cut ourselves some slack. For my crew, this means that if we are tired mentally or physically then we take the day off and simply rest at home. Whether that means read a book, have a snooze on the couch or play a computer game or two, the concept of rest means that there is nothing particularly pressing to do or to do something you don’t normally have time for. I enjoyed snoozing on the couch, sitting in front of a bonfire in my backyard looking at the stars, walking in the bush near my home. We as a family have taken the chance to get out fishing, go apple picking, watch funny cooking skits and classic movies in our PJ’s. The best feeling was knowing  that while having a rest was and is good for our family’s soul it isn’t something measurable by the invisible hand of the market. There is no financial value watching your teenagers rib each other trying to climb an apple tree!

Another strategy has been to make a conscious effort to catch up with people. Whether that was online due to border restrictions, by phone or by routinely catching up with someone dear, my goal has been to engage with people as often as I could. We are social characters, we have evolved from primal beings by sharing in herds our thoughts, our time, our support of one another. Maybe you feel it (love) in your fingers, you feel in your toes. Love is all around me…….bet as you hum the tune you just want your couch, a bowl of popcorn, and a little Hugh and Andie to see the afternoon through!

My third strategy has been to connect to local producers, farmers, and shop owners. By exercising a sheer necessity in needing to buy food, shopping locally has allowed me to meet some truly magic people. Being served by a person rather than a computer you find out what is going on in your backyard and you are often met with a smile . Cooking a great meal, sharing with friends and family and having a yarn over celery is really back. Watching someone dribble rubbish having drunk a little too much wine at dinner really is just as much fun as I remember it being! The gym is now back and it time to get Savage with my peeps in a pile of sweat and a few choice swear words as we burpee our quarantine kilos away.

Social media is anything but social. Whilst it’s been useful to get the Decrapify message out there, my personal page has had little “shared” posts this year. Hopefully by appreciating more herd time we can limit our need for social media and the low self-esteem it often perpetuates. If people want to know how you are they will call and find out! Share the ways you hope to herd with your peeps, and as Yoda says, until next time pass on what you have learned.

Decrapify your life & change your world

Having created this blog in a pre-pandemic era, I have had time to research encouraging stories of kindness happening in my community. Whether it’s helping a friend or neighbour with groceries, calling a lost friend to say hello or helping a self-isolating boomer for free, it strikes me that in a world of incessant negative media streaming that we have a large heart and are willing to do acts of kindness for goods sake.

Which raises a question? Out of a crisis what do we want our future lives to look like? Most families are in a flux – losing jobs, kids out of school, outsourcing basic life tasks with no time to sit, rest and play. This crisis has led some of us to have more time to spend with the kids and chance to appreciate laughter and a crappy game of Yahtzee! Maybe we have reacquainted with old friends, improvised cooked ‘Duck ala Banana’ as we decide to Mark Manson our lives and not give a f^%+ to face the supermarket for the third time this week. Some of us have been reminded what is it to be married – ‘oh yeah you, I remember you! That’s right I love you already!’

The big question is what or who are we on this treadmill for? Is it to keep up with the Jones’? For some of us it is all about the status of who we are trying to impress. Imagine living in a world where you didn’t have to impress anyone, be judged or feel inadequate? Imagine a world where you don’t have to compete against your friend, neighbour, colleague or sibling to be supreme? When we are members of the community as opposed to a economic cog in a economic rationalist world our worth is measured by experience and interaction rather than the stuff we shove into cupboards.

Another question to be posed – how many of us wander around stores buying stuff we don’t need on a credit card? Is it time to learn a hobby, play an instrument or take the dog for a walk? Imagine living within our means (saving some of that stimulus package) by stopping our greedy individualist and competitive ways.

One thing for certain, I have had the time to reflect on what makes me special in this world. By listening to author Hugh McKay and trying to perfect the art of belonging I hope that by advocating for others to have a simpler more grateful life, universal education and healthcare, sharing useful information (knowledge is power) or taking the time to say hello to a random stranger, my main purpose is to be connected to grateful people and experiences that make me happy.

As owner of Decrapify Me, I have decided to change direction with this blog. Originally designed to be a fee for service platform, I have been inspired by plenty of good news stories to pay it forward and share my learnings for free. I expect I will make mistakes, not every seed with germinate, some of you will find better ways to do things and not every meal will be worthy of Masterchef!

Let’s keep the discussion going by emailing me at bianca@decrapifyme.com.au. Until till next time may some rest and recuperation be with you.