This piece is part of How Google Drive Can Make Every Corner of Your Life Easier
First I organized my spices. Then I organized my friends.
In the early days of the pandemic, facing a glut of alone time and not yet numbed to the chaos, I resolved to get my shit together. Besides alphabetizing my spices, I Kondo’d my socks and cleaned the grout in my shower. I filed away over 200 items in the “Miscellany” folder on my computer — the doodad drawer of desktops. But I still felt no peace.
My home was optimized, but my personal life was a kaleidoscope of anxieties. In some ways the pandemic had eased social anxiety: Nobody was at a bar without me. But all my conversations had gone digital, and digital chitchat stresses me out big time.
I overthink every text message and Slack: If someone doesn’t respond immediately, they’re mad at me. If they don’t use exclamation points, they’re mad at me. My pandemic interactions were constant but ungratifying — my friends and family had been reduced to a slew of notifications. At all times, I felt like I was both neglecting my loved ones and being neglected. I had to triage.
I think often about a 2018 essay in which writer Mary Traina shared some post-breakup advice her father had given her: “It happens, kiddo,” he told her, “You guys were great and I liked him, but now you’ve sorted him and you have to move on.”
The idea that you don’t have to give someone space in your mind — that you can simply sort them into another category — was so seductive to me.
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