COVID-19 has me feeling alone, ‘interminably’

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Hi Meredith,

I am a 63-year-old woman, divorced, and, of course, I have been isolated because of COVID-19 for the last six-plus months. My contact with the human world has been with delivery people, a few neighbors, and occasional trips to the grocery store. Being masked, I try smiling with my eyes because you never know when you can catch the right spark. Guarded optimism?

My last relationship was with a man I really had nothing in common with; I realized that he was self-centered and controlling. I was falling into my pattern of being with "someone" just for the sake of companionship, even if it was lacking.

I also care for my 96-year-old mother who lives with me, so virtual company is about all I can do for now. I am very fortunate to work from home, although my boss was just let go. I have had my job for 22 years and nearing retirement; this throws me into limbo. I fear there will be major changes soon.

So I don't know what I am really asking, or if I'm just wondering out loud. I afraid of ending up alone interminably.

– Solo

You are being a good person, caring for a parent, caring for yourself, worrying about work.

I won't promise you a vaccine that comes with a boyfriend who cares (come on Pfizer and Moderna, get that one done too), but I can tell you you're not alone in your isolation.

There are many single, divorced, isolated 63-year-olds who are thinking, "As soon as I can, I'm finding my person." I don't know many people who are taking companionship for granted right now.

I do think it might be worth checking out some apps to remind yourself that humans exist outside of your house. Even if it’s just a message here or there – a random "like" – it's a connection. And yeah, maybe there's someone who's in a pod/bubble of one, being safe, and might be able to join you for a chilly walk or, eventually, a visit.

If it makes you feel any better, I recently bought a sentimental gift for the person who has been delivering my groceries. I have bad asthma and have been afraid of stores. She's picked up my order almost every time. I feel like I know her. She recently told me all about her breakup (she doesn't even know I do this for a living). The point is, we’re all searching for connection. I can imagine a future where you can interact with some lovely people and they're really happy that you gave them your time. For now, optimism, eye smiling, and masks.

That's the pep talk for now. Maybe I can do a better one in a few months – or after winter.

– Meredith

Readers? Pep talks? Ideas? Reality checks?