I’ve been thinking about this article, “Everyone Has Left the Chat,” from today’s Sunday paper – about how group texts became a lifeline of sorts for so many of us in the early days of the pandemic, but now, there’s as much fatigue toward participating in the group chat as there is toward the pandemic overall.
Lauren Mechling writes in the article:
“Like so many features of our lives these days, our text message chains are undergoing a great unraveling. No matter how stimulating, all conversations must eventually come to an end. Even — and perhaps especially — the texting conversations that emerged and kept us company in the early days of lockdown have grown quieter as pods have disintegrated, interpersonal dynamics have shifted, and people have tired of prattling on about the same old thing.”
In other words, people are leaving the chat.
I guess I’m in a different kind of group chat than those described in the piece. Certainly not group threads with 10-plus people that were started with the main purpose of sharing Covid-related news and updates. I’d probably want to “flounce” from all that too.
After reading this, it struck me that it’s in fact largely the group texts and the individual texts with family and friends both in this city and elsewhere that have gotten me through a long January. Especially any and all text threads related to Station Eleven. (As the self-proclaimed #1 fan of the show, I can attest that I have started many. Watch it! Please!)
I’ve spent the past month rather isolated all over again. When I had to cancel my Ecuador trip with my aunt this month, I told people I was “bummed,” but that was an understatement. Another understatement: that I’ve been fighting the “winter blues” – how I described my current state to two of my colleagues turned friends this week on our regular check-in call.
But like in the early days of the pandemic – and pretty much every winter I’ve spent in Chicago, even pre-pandemic – it’s often through text where I stay connected and make plans for adventures to come.
My other lifeline this month has been my annual 30 days of Yoga with Adriene. One of my favorite sayings of Adriene’s is “Notice what it feels like to be alive today.”
I’ll admit, some days it has not felt that great. But January is already almost over.
I say to myself, I say to others via text: This too shall pass, this too shall pass, this too shall …
I think back to sitting in the St. James Theatre in New York City this fall with my brother Jay and our friend Mike, giddy with anticipation for David Byrne to walk on stage. I think about walking around Brooklyn the next day, the pure joy of being together, talking – like we had started on the group text.