We are not all OK.
Check on your single friends and family.
We’re not ok.
One of the benefits of being single for so long is my comfort in my independence. I like not having anyone to whom I must answer when I spend money, or go out, or stay in, or take the dog to the vet. My money, my time, and my space are my own, and I like that. Could I make room if the right person came along? Eh, maybe. I’ll worry about that if and when he shows up.
One of the problems with being so independent (and until now, I didn’t think there were any) has made itself evident during the pandemic – when you are fiercely independent, no one thinks to ask if you are OK.
My married friends and family have their spouses, their kids, and often their in-laws involved in their daily lives. I don’t have anyone involved in my daily life. I have a dog I walk often, and see my neighbors, and we’ve been checking on each other. But if you don’t happen to live in The Summit condominiums, I may not see or hear from you for months.
And that’s not OK.
This weekend I left an admittedly passive aggressive voice mail on my brother’s phone. It went something like, “Hi, it’s your sister, and I’m not dead.”
When he called me back, I was honest with him about his need to check up on me. I am not posting much on Facebook, and if I stopped completely, would he know if I was doing alright? Would he know if I was alive?
I get it. You have kids at home who are out of their routines. They’re bored. They’re in your stuff. All of their camps are cancelled or virtual. Your house is probably a wreck. Many of you are trying to work while entertaining these small people who have not had the chance to be bored since birth. Many of you would probably give a limb or at least $10,000 for the chance to have just an hour of my quiet and solitude in my clean condo. (I would take $10,000 from you to live in my house for a couple of days in the clean and the quiet, by the way)
But do you want hours and hours of it? Do you want the days to run into each other without any way to mark the time? Do you really want the opportunity to watch every episode of “Home Town” over and over again, so much so that you feel Erin and Ben are your new best friends? You probably don’t.
I bet Erin and Ben call and check on their single friends.
We are not all OK. We are not lying on the floor crying or plotting our own demise, but we’re not running through the house singing and dancing either. It’s lonely in a pandemic by yourself. Really, truly, lonely. And that’s a new thing for me.
I’m an introvert and used to being by myself to recharge, but that doesn’t mean I want to live on a mountainside by myself with just my dog and a hot plate. I like people. I like my people. I want to talk to my people. But I also don’t want to be the only one who reaches out, either. It’s exhausting.
I have a group of girlfriends, most single, who chat every week. That’s wonderful. I have another group of girlfriends, most married, who have a group text chain going regularly. That’s also wonderful. But that’s not true for everyone.
This pandemic is wreaking havoc on people’s lives in call kinds of ways. It’s not easy for any of us. It might be a little bit harder on those of us without families or spouses or partners. I don’t know, maybe it does suck to have your spouse with you 24/7. I only know my experience, and I want to make sure you understand your single friends’ experience as best you can.
Call or text them. Reach out. Let them know they are not forgotten. Because I can tell you personally, I feel very forgotten sometimes.