My family did our Passover Seder via video chat the other night, as did many people around the world.
It was a good substitute, but definitely a substitute.
I missed being with everyone so much. Usually we say, “Next year in Jerusalem.” This year we added, “Next year, together.”
Only being together for the Seder and dinner was hard. It’s the same issue as with all video chats. I want more. I want side conversations. I want the general buzz of many conversations occurring at once. The limitations and enforced politeness of a video call are brutal. You can’t make eye contact with another person and giggle when someone is doing that endearing thing they do. You can’t interject a quick little joke without disrupting the flow of the whole thing for everyone.
I hate it. I miss my family and I wish I were staying with my dad and stepmom right now. I wish my sister and brother-in-law and niece were staying over and we were enjoying quality time together.
This sucks and it’s scary and nobody knows when it’s going to end but I am sick of it. I miss my people.
One of the surprising things that made doing the Seder via video chat emotionally difficult was seeing, on screen, how very alone I am. Everyone else in my family is paired. In my little box in the chat, there was just me.
It made me sad, seeing that very visible aloneness. In general, being single it isn’t something I think about. When hanging with people in person it doesn’t feel like an issue. But in video chats, there I am, just one huge face compared to everyone else’s two or more.
It made me feel very alone and very lonely.
Unless someone is extremely ignorant, I feel as though this is universally a hard time right now. Everyone has their battles they are facing.
My primary concern right now is employment. Not knowing how long it might take to find a job or if there’s any chance I’ll find something that doesn’t make me miserable is anxiety inducing.
Adding thoughts of romance into the mix seems foolish right now. I am a little lonely, it’s true, but how could I not be? And truly, except for those times when I’m forced to compare how my life situation looks with others because it’s literally bring broadcast on a screen, I’m quite happy being single.
I will say this, though: I would have been okay with my cat not insisting on being in my lap getting attention from me through the whole Seder. It felt bad enough seeing myself as the only single person, but did I really need the full visual of the stereotypical middle-aged, red wine drinking, cat loving female broadcast back to me like that?
It was a mirror showing my life that I did not particularly like, and it is now embedded in my brain for all eternity. Would I change it if I could? Probably not. Did I enjoy seeing it, as compared to the homes and families of my siblings and parents? No. No, I did not.
My one solace is knowing I might not always be participating in chats like that from home. If my employment dreams come true and I wind up in a fully remote position, it’s possible I’d join in on the Seder from various points around the globe in the future. The image I would present would no longer be the sad middle aged lady at home, but rather, the courageous and adventurous woman exploring the globe.
It’s lovely to remember that this is my ultimate goal and right now is not anyone’s normal. Someday, this will all get better. Life will resume. Hopefully, the world as a whole and each of us will have learned and be able to implement some valuable lessons about what is truly important to us. Things about who we are, how we care for others, and how we spend our time are bound to be examined and changed.
For me, I am more determined than ever to pursue my life dreams. Life is short. Everything we think of as normal can change in a heartbeat for any variety of reasons. I am 44 this year, and dammit, I’m going to live large during the years I have left.