Two weeks ago, a musician friend of mine let me know he was playing a gig. Yes, you read that correctly. Finally, after 15 months he was back and ready to play live in a bar.
In my state of North Carolina normal life has resumed. Of course there are places where mask wearing still happens. But for the most part, if one is fully vaccinated one is exempt. I still carry mine around. It’s become kind of a security blanket of sorts. Since it’s now somewhat commonplace to see masks, I can slip one on whenever I feel the need and no one will blink an eye.
“From the over-abundance of second-hand smoke to the extra-loud laughter and random snippets of conversation, my senses were on overload.”
My boyfriend and I got to the bar and quickly participated in a round of hugs. Not going to lie, it felt a bit strange to engage in this greeting ritual. It took me a while last year to break the “hello” habit of hugs and kisses, so I suppose it will take a bit to get it back now. Although, between you and me, I am not so sure I want it back. Never much of a physical touch person, it has been a welcome reprieve for me to omit that particular part of the greeting custom.
The place was fairly crowded. Our weather was unusually cool for this time of year and people were happily enjoying congregating closely on the sidewalk. I was acutely aware of everything that evening. From the over-abundance of second-hand smoke to the extra-loud laughter and random snippets of conversation, my senses were on overload.
We decided to go inside to remove ourselves from the irritating cigarette smoke. Being a bit early to the performance, we snagged an elevated corner booth with a perfect site line to the stage. The next 20 minutes or so witnessed the growth of a crowd. Honestly, for a while, I thought we might not need the word “crowd” any longer, but the space began to fill-up with people of all ages. And I mean ALL — from toddler to elderly.
The Look Of Resilience:
As the warm-up band began their set, I took a moment to slowly look around the room. Random individuals, couples and families sitting or standing (way closer than six feet) all gazing intently at the stage. Some swayed. Some held hands with their loved one. Each one a survivor of the worst global health crisis since the 1918 Spanish Flu. Each one a testament to our collective human resilience.
“What is human resilience?”
What is human resilience? Is it something we are born with? Why do some have it and some don’t? Can we develop it?
In simple terms, resilience is ‘The ability to resist, absorb and recover from, or successfully adapt to, adversity or change’. Resilience has been a popular field of study. Turns out that resilient people consistently demonstrate seven key skills.
Seven Key Skills Of Resilience:
- Autonomy: Resilient people DON’T blame others or circumstances. They know, deep down, that THEY are the arbiters of their own successes and failures.
- Adaptability: Being pliable is key to surviving. If we are not willing to bend; we will certainly break.
- Optimism: Change is inevitable. Outcomes are almost always uncertain. Resilient people frame situations that arise as positive — even if they turn out to be “lessons learned”.
- Realistic Self Awareness: How much better is life than when you understand yourself? Playing to one’s strengths and being gentle with one’s weaknesses is a sure fire sign of resiliency.
- Social Connection: Even in times of required social isolation, resilient people “figure it out”. We saw it happen, creatively, Zoom weddings, happy hours, and yoga classes.
- Pragmatism: Action oriented. Solution finders. Resilient people don’t waste time on what they can’t control or what could/should be. What’s the point?
- Self-Compassion: Treat yourself the way you would your best friend, partner (when you’re not mad at them), or your kid (when you’re not mad at them either).
As I sat listening to the acoustic drivel onstage, surrounded by loved ones and happy strangers, I was thankful for the resilience of the musicians, the crowd, my family and myself, bringing us all together for this long-awaited moment of not just normalcy, but celebration.