Living Life Without

In this essay I am describing my life. As you read it you may think I am also describing yours.

Before COVID came along my life was full and rich. In mid-March, many of the things that I had considered to be of critical importance in my life were suddenly not available.  

We were told to live in isolation in our homes. We were told that was the only way to stay safe. Attempts were made to reassure us that we were “all in this together.” Soon we heard that social distancing and masks would flatten the curve. Then the contradictions began and have not stopped. We were told that normal life would not return until a vaccine was discovered. And so we wait!

Healthcare became available only through virtual doctor visits by phone. I lost important office visits to my doctor and my dentist. Now, four months later, I am still awaiting needed healthcare.

Eating out became impossible when restaurants were ordered closed. After a few weeks they reopened with curbside take out only. Servers in masks said little. Conversations and laughter did not happen. People viewed each other with suspicion; was that a sneeze I just heard?

Of course, state owned ABC stores stayed open as the state declared them to be essential businesses. They were deemed essential because the state collects exorbitant tax revenue from alcohol sales. Also, keeping people at home and drinking made them easier to restrain. The ABC store parking lot was full as alcohol flew off the shelves.

Gyms closed and have remained closed. My gym work-outs have been a key part of my mental and physical health program for many years. Four days a week I worked out with weights and aerobics. In these four months away from the gym I have lost muscle mass and pain and stiffness have taken hold.

My volunteer work came to a full stop. Non-profits put all their volunteers on hold. Occasional emails and ZOOM calls took the place of getting together to do the work we had become volunteers to do. I miss the friends I have made.

Sports were no longer being played at any level. Live action with fans was replaced by virtual games and replays of games played long ago. Sports reporters attempted to entertain us with endless projections about player drafts and short season resumption. For a sports fan like me these attempts failed miserable. I stopped watching and don’t know when or if I will ever watch once they resume. Their politics and protests limit the relaxation they once provided me with.

Here is the worst part. Our kids told us we would not be getting together with them and our grandchildren until it was safe. No projections have been offered as to what defines safe or any timetable as to when that might be. Our family was forced to quietly suffered separation.

I found that my emotions during this time changed every fifteen minutes. Televised updates were full of charts and graphs and terms seemingly not understood by those reporting them. Were things getting better or not? It became easier to feel down than to feel up.

Phone calls with others became frequent but ended with the realization that the loss of our good times together could never be recovered. Phone calls cannot replace hugs and smiles.

Somehow I cannot bring myself to believe that life will easily return to what it was just before the virus hit our shores. I am adjusting to the likelihood of on-going panic. You may want to consider making some adjustments in your expectations about life ahead.  

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