(A Herd animal without a herd.)
“Living alone makes it harder to find someone to blame.”-Mason Cooley.
I was asked again this morning, “do I like living alone?” Well, often it is OK, but other times it sucks!
I have been living alone for almost two years since my wife passed away after a long fight with ALS. A long debilitating disease that is incurable. As her primary caregiver, I was on call 24/7. And then overnight, it changed. I went from always being needed to living alone in one 24-hour period.
In many ways living alone is easy. Nobody cares where you put things. No one tells me to put the toilet seat down. Mostly I don’t have to do anything I don’t want to. But, on the other hand, there is no one to make a casual comment to. No one to cook for. And most importantly, no one to care about daily. As humans, we are wired to be with others. So, for me, this was a double blow, losing my wife followed by Covid isolation.
Living alone has been made more difficult by the impact of Covid isolation. Covid messed with our minds. We weren’t living alone by choice but because the government told us to. This made it more difficult than it really was. It became the norm to be isolated and alone. We had no choice. But now, living alone with Covid has changed.
We have a partial reprieve. Starting this summer we can travel again. However, with the delta variant, we can travel, but we must be careful where we go. I have taken two road trips and two plane trips. They were all odd because of the influence of having lived alone for so long. I found I had unlearned how to be with a group while I was isolated. Now living alone is different again.
Even though I stay in my apartment alone almost all week, meetings in person are starting to be a normal thing again. The outside world is starting to intrude into my safe space of isolation. I was used to living alone and now find I must learn a new way of living.
I am living with others on the internet and with others in person. But the reality is that we are still living with Covid. Covid didn’t really end this summer. It just changed. We don’t know whether the people we are near have been vaccinated or not. Even if they have, they can be carriers.
As we enter the 4th quarter of 2021, living alone will continue to change. It will include more in-person activities as I slowly get accustomed to having more people around. But for me, it will not include crowded events because of the low national vaccination levels. There are just too many people out there who are not getting vaccinated. So if I go into any public place, I continue to wear my mask and will do so for another year.
I don’t plan to let living alone be an excuse for loneliness, depression, or isolation. Instead, I intend to stay connected and become more connected as time goes on. It is a time for reflection, making new friends, and venturing out into society more regularly.
“Loneliness expresses the pain of being alone and solitude expresses the glory of being alone.” -Paul Tillich.