Friendships, Salsa and Social Distancing

Think about it. Birthdays without your friends are like chips without salsa. It’s ok, but it’s far less rewarding to eat chips alone. Lately, I’ve been reminded of how friendships, like salsa, make life’s moments worth celebrating. 

Perhaps I’ve got birthdays on the mind because we celebrated a birthday every few weeks in this house during our shelter-in-place order in Illinois. A Zoom gathering wasn’t quite the same as the inflatable archery party we threw for our son last year. Does life really get better than shooting inflatable bows and arrows at each other when you’re 11?

As I reflect on the last few months, I can’t help but think how “social distancing” has taken away so many of the joys in my life, most notably, opportunities to connect with my friends. I miss sitting on the bleachers together watching track meets. I miss parking lot conversations with other parents as I’m running kids to and from practices. I miss church on Sunday and eating at our favorite Mexican restaurant afterwards with friends. I even miss standing in line at Wal-Mart talking to random strangers (that is when you know you need to get out). 

But, Val Farmer, clinical psychologist and author, says this makes sense. Handling stress is even more challenging during a time of social distancing

One of the most powerful aspects of friendship is that it takes the focus off me and allows me to invest energy into thinking about others. In this time of social distancing, the “out-of-sight, out-of-mind” mentality can sneak in and cause us to take our eyes off others. We begin to think we’re all alone in this, even though we know we are not.

Trampolines are like your friends during a crisis, explains Sean Brotherson, an Extension family life specialist at North Dakota State University.

“If you’ve ever bounced on a trampoline, you know it will catch you and bounce you back up. That’s what supportive relationships are like in our lives,” he says. 

Whether you’re chasing your friends around with a Nerf bow or talking over chips and salsa, there is something powerful about the way friendship lifts you up.

My birthday will round out the Shike family quarantine birthdaypalooza. Typically, I’m celebrating with my pork industry friends at the World Pork Expo. I’m disappointed that I won’t get to be at World Pork Expo with you this year but invite you to join our Farm Journal team June 1-6 as we celebrate “PORK Week.” 

We know that nothing can replace World Pork Expo, but we will be uniting together across all of our Farm Journal platforms to elevate the important role the pork industry plays in feeding the world. We’ll be honoring pork producers, providing opportunities to learn new things and celebrating industry advancements and achievements.

Share your stories and post photos on social media using #PORKWeek to help us honor the pork industry. From “AgDay TV” to “AgriTalk” to “U.S. Farm Report” to and everything in between, tune in and join us as we acknowledge the most noble profession there is: feeding people.

Read More From Farm Journal's PORK:

Simple, Daily Habits to Help Manage Stress

When Your Trampoline Breaks: Avoid Isolation

Pay Attention to Warning Signs of Stress

Don’t Let Social Distancing Lead to Social Isolation