Oh So Solo
By Judy Dean
Just five months ago I was happily wrapping up plans for two trips: a week in Florida followed by two weeks in Costa Rica with my sister and a friend. Our Costa Rica trip had been on the docket for months and we were beyond excited to go. Spring was just around the corner and there was plenty to look forward to.
A month later we were in full-blown quarantine – all travel dashed with no Plan B in sight. For some reason, my arthritic (but relatively well behaved) right knee chose that moment to go haywire, ballooning to new and painful proportions. Weeks passed while I hobbled about, unable to get medical help. Months later I learned that my knee was “bone-on-bone,” launching me down the path to replacement surgery. Without the ability to walk, my shrinking world grew smaller and smaller.
Of course, all of this unfolded in the 24/7 blur of coronavirus airplay. My mom (who ended up in lockdown at my house directly upon return from a winter vacation) joined me in front of the TV as we learned new ways to think and behave. I hand-stitched my first mask, wiped down the groceries, and cooked far too much food. We often got in the car and drove around for a while just to get out of the house.
At the end of April my mom returned home and I was on my own again. At this point something strange began to happen. The sight of couples holding hands filled me with jealousy and longing. I couldn’t bear to watch romantic movies. I realized I wanted a boyfriend the way I wanted one when I was 16: right here, right now.
This was not normal. Not that I haven’t always wanted a boyfriend, its just that I’m used to living alone. It’s safe to say I have a fairly high threshold for solitude. I don’t spend much time thinking about what’s good or bad about solo living: it’s just the way things are. I would not have described my life as lonely: my dog and cat have seen to that. Well, at least not until COVID hit.
Bottom line, the pandemic made me feel profoundly alone: vulnerable, unsure, and isolated in a way I’d never felt before. I crave having someone to hunker down with, a caring partner to ride out this dark chapter with. There is so much loss and uncertainty unfolding around us I that can hardly stand witnessing it alone. Coupled with a bum leg and more than a thousand days of Trump, COVID has put my mostly cheerful independence sorely to the test.
I’ve made no grand plan to change course. Still in weeds with the pandemic, I can barely even plan my next grocery run. Besides, the dilemma I find myself in is small potatoes in the grand scheme of things. I promise to keep it in perspective.
If you’re single and find yourself nodding in some measure of recognition, I hope you’ll take time to reflect on this development and where it might lead you. Focus on what’s good in your life. Try to stay positive and connected with friends and family. Oh, and if you happen to know any fine single guys, 60-70ish, please let me know.
To those in committed relationships, please don’t be one of the COVID-frustrated individuals who snipe about their partner’s faults or “too much togetherness.” The timing is not good for that! It makes us un-coupled folks want to scream, “You are so lucky! Stop taking each other for granted! Who cares if s/he overcooked the pasta – you have someone to eat dinner with!” Count your blessings – and show a little love.