We are each other’s harvest; we are each other’s business;
we are each other’s magnitude and bond.
During the months we were sheltering at home some people created pandemic pods of neighbors to allow for extended and safe interaction with others.
Now that most of us can leave our homes and neighborhoods, it’s time to think about creating your post-pandemic pod.
Lucky for me, my pod has been alive and kicking before, during and after the lock-down, and my life is better because of it.
It’s been almost 20 years since Val, Jean, Jane and I began meeting for coffee every week. Actually, when we first came together we met monthly and kept the topics professionally focused, but we soon realized that monthly wasn’t enough and restricting the conversation to professional topics wasn’t possible.
What was possible, and deeply desired, was meeting between 8 and 9am every Friday at a coffee shop or at one of our homes. Ten years into it, Val moved out of state, but that didn’t stop us from including her by phone. When Covid hit we met by Zoom.
These women and this hour are my touchstone.
Each week we share our victories, struggles, grievances and hopes, knowing each will be welcomed and accepted.
We have only two norms but they have served us well.
The first is that we can miss a week only if we have paying work or a life-affirming activity (Though now that we’re getting older medical appointments are becoming legit excuses too!)
The other norm is that when the group speaks, we must listen. For instance, when Val was considering an opportunity to take a writing class with her favorite teacher in Italy, we insisted she sign up immediately. And when Jane was debating to leave a job with a soul-crushing manager and commute, we reminded her of how fulfilled she had been with her own business a few years earlier.
Currently the group is encouraging me to keep my pandemic hair habit of forgoing the blow dryer in favor of my curls.
My weekly coffee with Jean, Jane and Val is so integrated into my life that when I have to miss a week, I feel antsy and incomplete.
Now that many of us are taking baby steps back into the world, consider who you might invite into your post-pandemic pod.
- Think of 3-4 other people you care about and whose opinions you value. (They don’t all have to know each other or live in the same place.)
- Offer up a trial period of three months and/or six meetings. Perhaps meeting every other week to start if weekly feels like too much.
- Keep the time commitment you establish. If you agree to meet for an hour, be sure to wrap up on time.
If we’ve learned anything during the pandemic it’s that other people matter, time is precious, and this messy and magnificent journey of life is indeed better when shared.