In some ways, I’ve really enjoyed the restrictions placed upon us during the Covid-19 pandemic (which, at the time of writing is absolutely ongoing, in spite of the steady reopening of life here in the UK). I’m extremely fortunate to still be working, in a house which can accommodate two home-workers and even have a small garden to potter around in and stare at while I’m thinking; I’ve no children to wrangle, no boss to appease and the security of savings: I am in no doubt that I have it easy.

But that doesn’t mean that I’m immune to the collective grief we’re experiencing.

The loss of life is unquestionably horrific and the aftermath of physically distanced Covid-funerals is heart-wrenching (trust me, I’ve been to one). People are also grieving for lost jobs, lost friendships, lost freedoms.

Just because it’s harder for other people doesn’t make my grief less valid; just because it’s easier for someone else doesn’t deepen my feelings: as I often say, rather tediously, how we feel isn’t a competition.

Anyway, it wasn’t until I’d had a bit of a ruminate during last week’s run that I managed to put my finger on what it is I’m missing most and it’s so intangible, we don’t even have a word for it in English: I’m missing mudita, which is a Sanskrit word roughly translated to mean experiencing sympathetic or vicarious joy.

I miss enjoying the joy of others!

Much as I’ve loved taking my running coaching online and it’s been brilliant to see everyone doing well, with their sweaty selfies and honest write-ups of how they’re doing, it’s just not the same.

So here’s a picture of Sue, enjoying her run. I’ve used it just for the mudita.

This is Sue, one of my excellent runners.
I found the word many years ago, in the British Psychological Society Research Digest British Psychological Society Research Digest, after they published an article by Dr Tim Lomas, author of The positive lexicography.