I am one of the fortunate ones. My income is steady and more or less assured through September. I can put food on the table, although I’m an extremely reluctant cook, and I don’t have to worry about paying the bills. I’m used to working at home; our company has been more or less virtual for several years. I miss getting together for staff meetings, but we manage well enough by phone and email. So far, both I and those I love are healthy. The people I care about are being extremely careful, which gives me more peace of mind than I thought it would.
My grandson graciously and gladly gets groceries and runs errands, so I don’t have to venture forth at my age and with what may or may not be an “underlying condition” (even the medical folk aren’t sure). He also visits at least a couple of times a week, so I’m not alone all the time.
When there are spare minutes, I have a huge backlog of things to attend to that accumulated when I was working too hard and traveling too much. Boredom is not a problem; although I don’t have many kind words for finally cleaning house, at least I can do it.
Surely I can count myself blessed. So why does this still feel so miserable?
I’m no expert, but I think it is at least in part because we are used to being much more connected. We are used to pats and hugs. Virtual conversations aren’t the same as looking one another in the eye and adding a loving touch. Virtual church lacks the sense of community we share when we gather in the sanctuary and around the altar. I have yet to get through a Zoom service without weeping.
One thing I have tried to do to compensate is to reach out to people in more depth the best way I can. I’ve connected and reconnected with friends and relatives in long emails and longer telephone conversations. I’ve searched out folks I’ve lost touch with to say hello and wound up in fascinating dialogues. In some cases, I was able to lend a supportive ear; in others, I received support myself.
What started out merely as permissible excise – walking around the neighborhood – has introduced me to neighbors I never even knew lived here and deepened my connections with those I knew in passing. I’ve learned all sorts of interesting things. Virtual Zumba led to reconnecting with someone with whom bonds had loosened because we couldn’t “do lunch” any more. And so it goes.
I still think this is all pretty miserable. I want to be able to run away from my own cooking, hug my grandson, and actually see my friends and family. But I do find myself smiling from time to time at the new relationships and the new dimensions to old ones. I’m so grateful this isn’t happening many years ago when we didn’t have the technology to connect in alternate ways. Or when I didn’t like to walk.