Opening up to friends – Herald Democrat

By Michael Hutchins Democrat Herald

I don’t think I speak for myself alone when I say that the world and the way I see it have changed – perhaps permanently – over the past two and a half years. I’ve said before that every generation has a moment that sets the tone for years to come and I’m sure it was that moment at least for the current generation, if not for others.

Despite the impact of the past two years, I haven’t had time to sit down and reflect on all that has happened and the impact it has had on me. I had this moment of catharsis over the weekend in an unexpected way and the experience made me realize how much this moment affected me.

The moment I got together with a group of friends for a party for the first time since the pandemic. Although I’ve met some of my friends on and off since 2020, this was our first time meeting as a group. For others, it was the first time that we had really talked at length since the start of the pandemic.

As the mood in the room began to build as we cut out the small talk, the conversation quickly changed to talking about the pandemic and how it has affected each of my friends, most of whom are between their 30s and 40 years.

Each of us brought another perspective to the story from different professions and backgrounds. However, everyone agrees that the pandemic has changed them in one way or another, and not always for the positive. For some, the pressure of the past two years has led to career changes. Others spoke of the difficulties of navigating security measures with an audience that didn’t always agree. Yet another had a crisis of faith through it all.

As we talked, and even as I opened up about the feelings I had since 2020, I realized this was the first time I had really spoken about it. All this time I kept things close to the vest, I kept it to myself. However, opening up to a group of friends who have gone through their own trials, I felt a little relief from the things I kept to myself.

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