.Love in the Time of Corona.

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Love in the Time of Cholera by Gabriel García Márquez is one of my favorite books and movies of all time. If you enjoy a beautifully written love story, read this book. Why? Because you have T.I.M.E. Lots of it. And love is great.

How is your love life these days? Is it like in the Movie Ghost and this particular scene with Demi Moore and Patrick Swayze?

This pandemic is remodeling our society like it is clay spinning on the axis of a pottery wheel. I wonder what it is like to be a therapist/couple counselor these days. The divorce rates are probably rising. Will there be a Corona-Baby-Boom in January 2021? Will therapists be more in demand than usual? How have their routines changed? Or, do you want to kill your husband/wife or partner at this point? Does your husband’s cereal chewing so loudly in the next room bother you that you are thinking about this Misery Scene being Kathy Bates?

If one thing is for certain, it is that during this curious and trying time, love is being both challenged and affirmed. While some relationships have taken a step forward, new couples choose to isolate together, some decided to spend quarantine alone, some couples built and some fell deeply in love, while others have taken a different route. Maybe you find yourself in an inflammatory situation. Maybe you are at the edge of a divorce. Since the lockdown was initiated, divorce rates in China have soared. In the Xian Province alone, the number of requests was so high, they maxed out the number of appointments at government offices. I don’t know the numbers in Austria, Vienna but I know of a couple of friends who are struggling in their relationships as well.

As John Lennon famously said, “Life is what happens to you while you’re busy making other plans.” I had plans! We all had so many plans. Then life happened. And continues to happen, albeit in an unrecognizable way. At this point for me, all this isolation has made for very deep and interesting conversations. Sometimes it feels like if people have moved past small talk and right into real talk. And this is what happened to me, too. Somehow, this has made me connect with people more than I did previously.  There is nothing quite like a crisis to make you feel connected and nothing like invisible cells, transferred from person to person, to prove just how interconnected we truly are.

For me, perhaps the biggest show of love has been all the conversations with my friend. They keep me sane. They keep me happy. He keeps me sane. He keeps me happy. As the world changes rapidly inside and out, this much has become clear: in many ways, large and small, love is all around. And I can feel it.

And for those moments when I am stuck cleaning up dishes from the millionth at-home meal or when I am listening to myself cracking open pistachio after pistachio, or wondering when I will see and hug my parents again, there is always a shift in perspective. Because as the memes say, we aren’t stuck inside, we are safe inside. And that isn’t so bad, after all. In the meantime, I just keep cracking those pistachios. #eyeroll

Corona makes me appreciate and love to be on this planet. The earth is a living, breathing thing and I don’t think we have really respected that. Now the earth seems to say: stop, think about what you’ve done and come back with a new plan of action. How many things do we really have to do in a single day? How much do we really need? I bet we’re all rethinking things which will make us stronger. Which maybe make us appreciate or love each other more? Also, we are debunking the myth that real work happens in an office or at business meetings.

It is amazing how, a couple of weeks ago, I was concerned about things like buying a more comfortable reading chair. This seems both hilariously naïve and also quite prescient considering the amount of time I now spend in this chair. I always enjoyed being home, and am actually oddly suited to this current situation. It is really not so bad. Just some days. I am not alone after all. Otherwise, I have been thinking about health, togetherness, and maintaining stability. And love. With someone who likes Love in the Time of Cholera as much as I do.

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