I’ve been thinking about being remote for a while. Not in the way you think. This blog post is not advice on “how to” work remotely or thrive from the home office. It’s a reckoning about what I have been thinking about over the last 9 months. The feeling of being remote is real. It starts with feeling so very far away from the things we know and love. Distant from close family, friends, and peers. Away from the concept of schedules and calendars. Time is moving along at a pace — and standing still. Sometimes months feel like years. Sometimes a day feels like a week. It feels like we have live a few lives and aged a bit in 2020.
Home has become a multipurpose space where we go to school, sit in “the office,” and find leisure time — if we can. Learning, working, and living are a blend and exist in a blur making things feel like we are living on a loop, often in the same location. With no boundaries comes uncertainty and awareness of the limitations in perpetual life cycle. And although the plant/fur/real kids help us remember to take a break, I often wonder if they are thinking, “Don’t you have somewhere to go?”
I used to be productive in my WFH office, but motivation fights with grief and bouts of guilt often pull my focus regularly. The shoulds got mixed with the coulds, with little being accomplished personally or professionally. How can I find some headspace when there is social inequity, increasing racial unrest, and health disparities wrapped in an economic divide? How small are my concerns and work, when there are larger issues looming?
Whether its Zoom rooms, virtual Teams, Twitter threads, or Instagram tales — there seems to be more technology to bring us our of isolation, yet there’s widening gap to easily disconnect. The infusion of the being wired for our waking life has us “always on” and it is emotionally and physically exhausting. Although these devices and platforms have the potential to bring us together, they seem to be pulling us further apart in thoughts, ideologies, and a common sense humanity. Always together, but often alone.
We morn the loss of our social selves. The festivals, concerts, celebrations, events, meetings, and reunions that once gathered us — are no more. Travel is a faint, distant memory only replaced by voice mails, FaceTime calls, and group text messages for/by those we love and miss. With this pivot to online the personal is on a choppy WiFi connection, and our professional identities are in a Zoom waiting room, asking, “Is this really what I want to be doing with my life?”
Transitions through turmoil and trauma persist. The always evolving issues wash over the relentless news cycles and challenge what actual community and civic responsibility means. The awakening of our fragile social structures were no fault of the pandemic, Black Lives Matter, or other issues of today — but rather a slow reveal of what is needed to confront, breakdown, and rebuild. Other already felt this, the rest of us are just realizing. Returning to what was is no longer possible, nor should we want to go there. It’s time to invent what will be .
History is told by those who tell it. The power of the narrative now, is that it can be drafted and retold in a collaborative, open shared doc — by many, and not just a select few. What are the stories we should be sharing and amplifying today? How will we write ourselves into a future that actually improves how we live, work, and learn? From our educational institutions to corporate entities, we can no longer rest on our laurels to sit silently when our practices and positions have not called into question the policies and system injustices of an inexcusable status quo. This is not a time to be remote anymore. This remoteness comes from a point of privilege, and silence shows your complacency on issues that need to be addressed.
I’m sorry for being so remote. I’m back. The revolution won’t be blogged, but I hope to poke holes at things I am learning/unlearning, ways we can take action for impact, and how it is critical to be less remote and more of an ally for the change we need in the world. Let’s go on this foggy journey out of remoteness together…