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The social battery

As the Christmas rush has intensified over the past few weeks and the invitations and obligations start to pile up, the antisocial part of me is starting to miss the good old days of the pandemic when we always had that convenient excuse we could use to not go anywhere we didn’t really want to go.

Maybe it’s just me growing old, but all these parties and gatherings with themes and exchange gift obligations, coming back with a vengeance after being missing for almost 3 years, are suddenly reminding me just how hectic and costly this time of the year can be.

I didn’t realize that having a social battery that at this point is overflowing after all the revenge gatherings and mini-reunions we’ve been having in the run up to December can be so draining. I already feel like I’ve done my fair share of socialization to last me another 2 years but it’s not even peak Christmas party season. Over the next few days there will still be parties galore: work, family, friends and other social and civic groups all have something lined up as we approach peak Christmasness.

Aside from the overflowing social battery, there is also the issue of the drained wallet, coupled with the atrocious cost of living these days. It’s not just ridiculous price of onions in this country, which are the most expensive in the world, but everything has become more and more expensive with no signs of slowing down. Inflation, which used to be an abstract economic concept, it is now a part of our reality and damn, does it bite.

After almost three years of staying home and not going out, we are now being reminded in the harshest way possible, how expensive, tiring and unhealthy it is to go out. I’m sure there are those who are enjoying it and are having the time of their lives making up for lost time, but for those of us who may have realized over the pandemic how much we preferred staying home, this time of year is turning out to be quite a grind.

It would be great to be able to attend all these gatherings and have fun with all these people, especially for those who missed all this socialization. For those who are into it, I’m sure practicing for group presentations are jolly good fun, as well as shopping for exchange gifts and knickknacks. If you come to think of it, the Christmas season is truly a big driver of our economy, considering how much money this nation of 100 million spends on food, gifts and partying in general.

And I know I’m just being a kill joy complaining about it, but themed parties do add to the fun. The point there is that if we are going to party, we might as well make the most out of it and having a theme does add to the enjoyment factor, aside from making the event social media friendly. As long as we don’t blow all our 13th month pay on the costumes and gifts as we revenge party December away, it should be all in good fun.

However, it is hard not to miss having the option of having a convenient excuse to politely decline a party invitation/obligation. This would really come in handy for people whose social batteries are about to explode or when funds (or pants) are becoming too tight for comfort.

The good thing about having gone through a pandemic, aside from some of us coming to terms with the limits of our social batteries, is that hopefully more people have also become more understanding of anti-social/self-love tendencies. That would be great if that happens as those of us who would rather pick our battles and stay home some of the time won’t have to come up with silly excuses like pretending to suspect to have been exposed to COVID it in order to have a bulletproof reason to stay home.

Everybody loves a good party, but not everyone can party as much as others can. This is one of the indirect lessons we are probably starting to learn as we finally put the pandemic behind us. Hopefully the party planners and party animals are not too busy making up for the time they lost in the purgatory that the rest of us realized wasn’t that bad at all. Those of us who discovered we aren’t particularly sociable should be able to count on that level of understanding and no longer be afraid to decline an invitation and learn to respond properly to an RSVP, without having to deal with the social pressure of being called a party pooper.*

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