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Pandemic Pod Panic: Is Your Social Life Causing Angst?

Have you spent more time worrying about your–and your child’s–social life since the pandemic hit? If so, you could be suffering from Pandemic Pod Panic, aka “P3” (I just made this up). I read this interesting piece in the Boston Globe that detailed how many of us have been gripping about how we and our families are left out of social activities during this time of social distancing and isolation. Is this you? I have been guilty of it, I must admit.

First off, let me define a Pandemic Pod, for those of you not in-the-know. It’s essentially a small cohort of families who have stayed together and played together throughout the pandemic. The Pod subscribes to the same level of concern about COVID and, for the most part, interacts socially with an equal level of discretion and safety. Some pods may have more stringent policies when it comes to traveling by airplane, riding the school bus, or dining indoors. Others may be a little less rigid and feel those activities are okay. Typically, what one pod member believes, so does the other. This is why there is not much cross-pollination of pods! And there can be apparent judgment of pods that do not think–and most importantly ACT-alike. This is sounding like a cult..

Let me be clear: I am not judging anyone here. And no one’s beliefs are wrong. Unless they are not mine. Wait, joking! No, I mean, be safe, people. Obviously.

Anyway, back to the topic at-hand: Pandemic Pod Panic. I have noticed that I don’t see or talk to some of the friends that I used to since last March, the onset of COVID. This has caused me to wonder if it’s because of something I’ve done, or how I choose to live during Covid, or if it’s just something about them wanting to isolate. Some of it, too, is because we don’t run into each other at soccer, for example, or during school activities.

I don’t really know. I think we can only assume that it’s that, but who knows!? This reminds me of my recent blog post, Too Many Friends = Too Much Drama, and the feeling of being back in high school. And then, when you find out that friend you don’t see or talk to is actually hanging in her own pod? Then you panic: is it me? Why am I not in that pod? Are we no longer friends?

COVID is killing more than our spirits–it’s killing friendships! (insert scary music)…

Um, that’s a little drastic.

Now, aside from myself, I sometimes wonder about my kids. My son, for example, isn’t as social as my daughter. He basically has lived like a sand mole in the basement and on video games for a year now. Well, that’s not entirely in isolation, though, because he’s on a headset laughing his head off with friends. I’ve wondered if he should go outside and play with our neighbors, but he really has no interest, and I get concerned. Like, is he antisocial? Is he going to have friends when this is all over? We can’t really invite people over who he hasn’t seen or been “podding” with, and hence the P3 begins (Pandemic Pod Panic)

I have been fortunate to have a nice group of friends in my neighborhood, and we have been kind of like our own Pandemic Pod. Our children are the same ages and have played since the pandemic hit. Similarly, we adults have met around the firepit and had some wine and been able to socialize while social distancing. But I have heard others lament that they don’t have those opportunities and feel left out. This sense of isolation is magnified when they see it posted on social media–revelry around a firepit with friends. In the Boston Globe piece, they recommended not posting those types of photos to social media so others don’t feel left out.

Wait. But I only post so others feel less-than, right???? (Insert Mean Girls voice). Just joking.

Anyway, what are your thoughts and experiences with this? Have you felt left out, or judged, or worried about social nonsense during the pandemic? Maybe we are just bored! Perhaps this is self-manufactured stress.

🤦🏻‍♀️🤦🏻‍♀️🥴🥴

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So Was it a “Mistake” or an “Experience?”

Today I heard the quote, “Experience is the name we give our mistakes.” It led me to reflect on all of my “mistakes,” of which there are plenty. I wondered if I could actually just chalk them up to experiences instead of what I’d felt were mistakes. And, the answer is: I’m not sure, and leaning towards ‘no.’

I mean, I can’t get those days, months, weeks or years back that I spent with someone I regret. Nor can I undo something tragic, that I think was a mistake, but I chose to do it.

I did it. It was my doing. So, was it an experience or a mistake?

That is the question.

This leads me to believe that if you CHOOSE to do something, it might, in fact, be a mistake, not an experience. Do you agree? An experience, to me, is something that happened to you or you were a part of. Like, you went on a trip to Cancun in college with a random group of kids on something called Sunsplash Tours–that’s an “experience.” (okay, full disclosure, I did that, and it might have been a mistake. Just saying.) Or, an experience could be getting stuck in an elevator. That’s a tough “experience,” but it’s not a mistake. It happened to you.

I think this quote was created so that we can exonerate ourselves and not feel shame or guilt for making a bad choice. It’s a pass, an out. I don’t like it. If you consider this wrongdoing a mistake, you are less apt to repeat it. Whereas you often can repeat an experience, and some are good and some are bad. Mistakes, to me, are not something we think of as good.

I spend an inordinate amount of time on wishing I could undo mistakes. Like, if I hadn’t done this then I’d be…always somehow in a better place in life. #wasteoftime (click here if you want to find a way to welcome unwelcome feelings).

We can’t undo our mistakes. We can someday call them experiences, I guess, but the best thing we can do is LEARN FROM THEM!

The other thing we can do is keep making them. I think if you are too afraid to make a mistake, then you will always stay in the safe zone and on the sidelines. You may never make a discovery, personal or professional. I believe in jumping in, full force, and then just spending inordinate amounts of time hating yourself later if it doesn’t work out.

Ha! I mean, that’s kind of what I do. That’s rotten advice. Sorry.


This is good advice though:

And a person who has only experiences, and not mistakes, is not real.

Pet that unicorn for me.

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I Want Some Answers!

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Today, I want answers. I want answers to the following questions regarding things that happened to me:

1. When my ADT home alarm system is faulted, and I can’t fix it myself over the phone with them, why must I pay for the labor costs for a technician to come out to repair it? I mean, it’s by no fault of mine that it doesn’t work, so why do I have to assume the costs to fix it? Makes no sense.

2. Why are there very few remote job opportunities now when people are actually mostly only working remotely? I have been perusing Indeed, Glass Door, Linked In, etc., and the remote work opportunities are few and far between. Oh, and I’m like candidate 154, if there is one.

3. How many times can I explain that I don’t get unemployment, because I quit, and I don’t qualify for pandemic assistance? Just curious. I get tired of explaining, as if I didn’t look into those options myself.

4. Ew, why am I so belligerent right now? Ha!

5. The song my son keeps singing, which he has titled “Poop Under the Covers,” and really only has those four words repeatedly…does it mean something? Is there some hidden meaning, or just hidden poop under his covers?

6. Can we really not wear white in a week? I mean, who even made that up? I didn’t wear enough white this summer, and if we are just home and not going into work or school, who cares if we sneak in some white sweatpants?

7. Are Dunkin’ Coolatas made with real strawberries and fruit? If so, are the blue raspberry Coolatas then made from actual fluorescent blue raspberries? If these exist on some farm, I must see and pick for myself.

8. Is mail-in voting going to work? I sent in a ballot via mail. Did you?

9. When my daughter tells me she is exhausted because she had TWO play dates (insert screams)…do I feel bad? Um….

10. Why is only Season 3 of Siesta Key free, and the episodes before it are $17.99 if you want to catch up??

11.  My children don’t actually go back to the school till October in Massachusetts. Is this actually going to happen? And I can’t believe it’s September, and I have a whole other month of summer left home with them! How am I supposed to even get a job? Oh, and when they go back, it’s scattered half days: half-remote, half in-person. So, essentially, I have two young children, varying times of learning and drop offs and pick ups, but I’m supposed to also work. Go figure.

12. When I ask my son to help clear the dinner table, and he tells me, “It’s not 1982!” What does that even mean? Oh, PS-he was born in 2010. And, I mean, I guess, yes, in 1982, I was indeed helping my parents clear the table!