Space, blessed space!

I’m one of those people who need lots of personal space, mentally, socially, and especially physically.

Some would argue that using the word ‘need’ is a bit exaggerated, and maybe I should instead use ‘want.’ After all, I would not die if I don’t get it — what do they know?

I want lots of personal space — there you have it! I want it, I demand it; because I actually do need it.

And then COVID-19 happened.

All of a sudden, all the space in the world — what a relief! I could breathe. It felt so free and liberated that everyone kept their distance.

Space!

I love it, but…

But it’s all so empty, cold, and sterile.

If only I could fill some of that whitespace, sometimes, not too often though, with a warm breath of someone who would chat about all the inconsequential bit of conversation dribble that I so often found needless, trivial, and yes, even sometimes irritating.

All of a sudden, I could not wait for the lockdown restrictions to ease. I want to interact with and react to others other than Skype, Zoom, Teams, or Google Meet.

And then it happened!

And when it happened. It was a double blessing!

The first, the blessing of that blessed end that is in sight. Yes, still some restrictions, but those were, in fact, the second blessing.

Blessing number two was the blessing of the changes in everyone’s behavior that remained post lockdown.

Every dark cloud does have a silver lining.

The silver lining, for me — social distancing.

I could now with confidence ask the person in the supermarket queue to leave some space between us and step back a bit, without others thinking, and sometimes saying, ‘what an asshole!’

Suddenly, it was not me who got the frowned looks and the clicking tongues; it’s the asshole behind me — that inconsiderate person who had no regard for the safety of others.

I even suddenly felt like the hero. And I gave others the confidence to do the same; instead of being that asshole, I’m now an example, the person that spoke up for those who felt they could not.

Isn’t it funny how context changes meaning?

It is exactly the same behavior, and in my case (unbeknownst to all), driven by exactly the same need. I need to keep others outside of my personal bubble; I just now have a better, more justified, and more socially acceptable excuse.

All of a sudden, it’s OK.

It’s more than OK; it is correct, justifiable, responsible, and acceptable. It is, in fact, a moral and social obligation.

Why it’s my right! For the first time, I can say I need my personal space!

How long it will last — well, let’s wait and see.

For now, I’m just enjoying it while I can.

Because I want, require, no, I NEED my personal space!

Johann Botha, a digital change provocateur & getITright® CEO. Transform & build organizational agility, & digital-age capabilities. Consultant, speaker & author