Do you find yourself isolated in an ever smaller space now?
I’ve always leapt to take on new adventures – leaving the corporate world at 48 and buying a farm, grasping the leadership of county planning, running for congress in 2004, signing up on a whim for a 110-day world cruise. Now the restrictions and fears of this pandemic world wall me in. On-line opportunities to be a part of the virtual world remind us where we cannot be. Some organizations, like my church, do develop creative ways to keep us together, thank goodness.
Our lives have mostly been in the world with others. I thoroughly enjoyed people, whether that was in the phone company, or people I met in the farming community, or those in or trying to get into government and people I met while campaigning. Seeing people on zoom isn’t quite the same
I wrote books, but even that wasn’t a lonely work – it required solitude but it involved lots of people – resources, publishers, etc. Even the people of my family archives surrounded me for a few years, but they and their letters, journals, and old photographs have gone to rest at the Historical Society of Dauphin County where others can enjoy them.
Mount Gretna is a Chautauqua Community that thrives on art, music, theater, and programs that draw us together normally. But the pandemic effectively closed Gretna this year. Even our post office, which used to be a gathering place is now a sterile environment admitting a few masked and gloved of us at a time. Our world has changed, and we don’t know for how long. In fact, I’m sure life will never return to what it was.
Whether the future is better or worse isn’t really the question. What we struggle with is the NOW. Life in our boxes is uncertain as well as restrained. For many who must go out of their safe zones to work essential and sometimes dangerous jobs, today is a living nightmare. To those who are in a box with others there are problems to deal with, especially where children and the elderly are involved. I suspect that women bear the brunt of the enforced closeness.
I admit that I am privileged and do not face the hardships most do now. But my anxiety may be shared by others my age who have been leaders and always been players in the game, trying to make life better for everyone. Whether by age, resources, or the pandemic, we can no longer “do what we do.” And therein lies great frustration.