As the co-founder of Kigi Agency, I was excited and extremely energized when we started operations in February 2020. We finished testing the website and were already gaining a lot of interest. Like many of you I was looking forward to meeting you at a few group presentations, attending business events to interest companies in posting their job needs on the website and eventually “touring” Quebec to spread the word about KIGI! Since March, I’ve been concentrating on connecting with you, the Kigiers, by offering various curated articles and information on topics such as health and wellness, books, the environment, and giving away pet toys to your furry friends! I’ve created a video series about how to use the website for Kigiers and businesses; and most recently I’ve been reaching out to a few local organizations and clubs offering support and activities for people 50 years and older in order to support all older adults.
In researching information for this month’s focus on mental wellness, I started looking at what is being offered to baby boomers during this pandemic to help with what we are all missing. It turns out, many activities have easily been converted to online initiatives such as dance, cooking and even gardening! There are also classes which were likely already offered online but which are now seeing an uptick in interest such as computer classes, learning a new language or learning how to arm-knit. These activities sound interesting and plentiful. I encourage everyone to connect with their local club or municipality to find out what is being offered, how you can participate and what new activities allow you to interact with others.
At the same time, I was discovering these intriguing courses (beer and wine making among one list) I did reflect on what is different. On the one hand, people are still being offered an activity, they can still see and speak with others via zoom or other social platform, they may still use the telephone or Facebook to interact, see photos and find out about their friends and family… but on the other hand, something has changed. We’re not moving as much as we used to. We’re not breathing fresh air as often as we did. We are not exposed to the different scents of a car/bus, activity centre or a friend’s perfume/cologne. We do not feel the weight of the room change with the different topics of discussion or people filling the space. We do not get to greet each other with a hug and a kiss.
Many health professionals will agree social interaction and physical touch are important factors in the mental and physical well being of all people regardless of age. As much as there are numerous activities to stimulate our minds, keep us occupied and bring us as close as possible to our usual conversations – we can all benefit from contact. I will not encourage you to seek physical contact and defy public health recommendations, but I will encourage you to talk about what you miss when you next participate in an online activity or speak with a friend. To say “I miss hugging you” to my friends has helped me let them know their importance in my life using my words.
Until the day we can meet and greet each other as we would like I’ll try to learn how to make wine so we can sit together again. (Ok, I’ll probably just buy a bottle)