The joy I missed
or the joy I realize has been taken for granted… because of this pandemic.
I found an essay wrote by Adam Grant, a psychologist and author of “Think Again”, in The New Yorker the other day. He wrote about one particular thing that we’ve missed on this pandemic: a collective effervescence.
Collective effervescence is a concept by Emile Durkheim in 1912 that essentially is about the excitement, energy, and harmony a person feels when they are in a group of persons with a shared purpose. Far as I knew, he was meant to create the concept closely related to the religious context. But as time goes by, the concept itself has developed into other life contexts. For example, Grant wrote this in his essay: “Collective effervescence is the synchrony you feel when you slide into rhythm with strangers on a dance floor, colleagues in a brainstorming session, cousins at a religious service, or teammates on a soccer field. And during this pandemic, it’s been largely absent from our lives”.
Now it became clear to me that “collective effervescence” is one of so many things I have taken for granted before this pandemic hits us. Who ever thought I will miss going to offline classes if there was no pandemic? I mean, sometimes I do, in the middle of my too-long-college holiday, but I will eventually go to classes when college starts again.
Maybe it sounds kinda awful for a person to miss going to classes, but I have many other things that I missed in the context of “collective effervescence”: I missed going to new places, meet new communities, make new friends on the volunteer program. I missed going out of town with friends for holiday. I even missed the almost sleepless nights I spent with the research team. I miss going to the canteen after offline classes with my college friends, too — enjoying our meal while talking or discussing things, and rushing to class because we lost track of time (yep, often happens).
But this pandemic, it’s something uncertain and unpredictable, makes me long for going or doing those things again. Maybe it’s not only me but also for anyone else with their other thing. Maybe they missed going to the concert, or the movies, or hanging out with their friends too. Maybe they missed offline classes or work from office too (maybe, just maybe). One thing I know for sure, they surely have the things that they missed too.
With today’s situation in my country, with the cases number stagnating in the tens of thousands every day and high numbers of death, I’m not sure when we’ll be able to get back to doing those things again.
And then, nostalgic feelings become valuable too, because we cannot fulfill the joy we’ve missed.