Updated: Dec 16, 2020
2020 will forever be described as the year when «shit got real, real quick!», We have all met a version of ourselves that we had not met before. We had to limit our tribe to a maximum of five people (in Norway that is). This became the narrative of our lives as the coronavirus reached Norway and as lockdowns began in the second week of march.
Before the pandemic, we had all probably gone through some kind of crisis in the course of our lives, but the corona crisis seems to have won the prize for the most demanding collective crisis of them all. It has created family crises, bankruptcies, challenged relationships, and at the same time developed a greater cohesion, first between us and then others but also to our very own self.
Who would have your back?
Statistics Norway (ssb.no- only in Norwegian) conducted a web survey on 9 to 29 march on the quality of life this year with the aim of mapping the quality of life of the Norwegian population before and after the corona measures took effect. I took a closer look at the part about whether the population felt that they had two or fewer people that they felt they could count on should major personal problems occur. The results for the population of Norway, as a whole, were very similar compared to the periods before and after 12 March.
They did however discover that the working population, students, pupils and immigrants experienced the greatest impact. Why these groups experienced the brunt of these measures may correlate to the fact that several of these groups had actually encountered personal problems as a result of the corona situation. It showed that these groups had experienced support and help from several people they already had a close relationship to, while the people who responded before the measures were introduced had, to a greater extent, just assumed which people they could count on for personal problems.
The national charity (Nasjonal dugnad), an initiative by the state, opened up people's emotional channels to stress, nervousness, loneliness and fear, but also compassion, generosity and openness. The latter are all nice and quite natural human reactions in crisis situations, but the survey notes several that several people thought they had few people(2 or less)that they actually could count on if big personal problems would occur .
Why is that?
How well do we really know our tribe? Who ARE our real Ride-or-Dies?
Has our independence stolen the focus from our close relationships?
A tribal mindset
Despite the study's results, at our core, we humans are tribal. Even from the beginning of our history, we soon realised that the danger of being attacked or eaten by an animal was greater if we were alone than when we were part of a herd and we still see this in many different cultures. Close relationships and friendships are some of the best support systems one can have in life. If you are blessed enough to have these kinds of relationships, then you know their value. Being able to count on someone who loves you unconditionally and know that that person feels exactly the same way could actually alleviate some of life's biggest problems.
The ride- or- dies
If you are an independent career-focused individual, fanatically disciplined in something or a cosmopolitan, you have probably experienced the gain, and loss of several acquaintances throughout life and even childhood friends. The more you think about the different periods of your life and the people who were present during the different seasons, the more you realise the great and lasting impact these people have had on your life.
The ones you consider to be the family you have chosen and the ones whose friendship you still cherish, are the ones you have shared belly-aching laughter with, tears, fear, injustices, sadness, love, hope, parenthood and now, the corona measures.
THESE are your ride-or-dies! They, can be one person or several individuals. Good friends do not have to be perfect, and they do not always have to be ready to help. It is enough that they accept you, are interested in what is happening in your life and that they are proudly willing to listen to you.
Many of us have nurtured some relationships a little more in these vulnerable times. Other relationships have surprised us and turned out to be more significant than we ever could have imagined in a normal day to day environment. Then there are those relationships that we actually hadn’t thought about even long before social distancing began.
Please take some time and really look into how well you know your tribe, and ask yourself who can rely on you in tough times? When you truly feel that you know the answer to that question, please reach out to that person and/or those people and share it with them.
Because, your tribe, family, close relationships and friendships, are some of the best support systems one can have in life.
Gratitude & Love,