To some degree or other we've always lived our lives in social bubbles, except that they normally overlap. Family, work, different sets of friends. Venn diagrams with you in the middle. The pandemic has thrown this into starker relief. We have virtual/online social bubbles, in-person but outside and 2 m socially distanced social bubbles, and one officially sanctioned social bubble (a.k.a “extended household” in Wales) where we can meet in-person, inside and hug if we want to.
Living 5 time zones away from half our family, and 3-4 hours public transport away from the rest (not that we use public transport at the moment, restricting ourselves to how far we can walk) our new, official social bubble is a pragmatic one but greatly appreciated. We have a couple of local friends (one of whom is also my workmate) with a baby 5 weeks younger than ours.
Meeting up at home for the first time last week seemed surreal after months of obeying lockdown rules and only having community midwives/health visitors in our space. It was also just plain ol' nice! The simple intimacy of having friends in our personal space feels like reclaiming a bit of ourselves, both against the global framing of the pandemic and the personal framing of being new parents.
I miss seeing other people up close, having family hold our baby – but I currently have no desire to break the rules and do so. Sure, we'd probably all be fine and no-one would find out but it's this kind of attitude en-masse that leads to cases rising, the R-value going over one, greater community transmission and inevitable increases in deaths of those most vulnerable. My parents and one remaining grandparent are in that category so I'll be sticking to socially-distanced meeting in parks and online exchanges for now.
Thank goodness for technology and for our own little in-person social bubble!
Entry 31 of my participation in the “100 Days to Offload” challenge – find out more and join in!