I have a couple of friends who I met during my last stretch of office work way way back last decade. I joke with them that, having spent 10+ years as a freelance writer/intensely underappreciated author, I was no longer compatible with the in-office lifestyle. I’d gone feral. Put me in an office from 9-5 and I’d spend all the time hissing at my co-workers while lurking under my desk.
But my fear now is that I’ve gone feral in a general sense. Much like a cat that’s forgotten how to be domesticated, I’m no longer sure how to get along with regular society. I gotta blame the pandemic for a big chunk of this, but not all.
You see, I started to withdraw into the hermit’s life before that. I cut out the old hobbies that just weren’t any fun anymore. Sometimes you keep doing an activity that used to be fun, in hopes it will be fun again. That’s like continuing to chew a piece of gum long after it’s lost its flavour, hoping its going to get sweet again. Chasing nostalgia. But cutting the hobbies out meant cutting contact with the hobby-related friends.
And I also decided to back away from the volunteer organization I was a part of, citing a need to focus on my professional writing career (such as it is). And again, leaving the organization meant leaving that social circle behind.
Then two years of not doing much of anything outside the house happened. I found the limits of my introversion, and then went far beyond. I know I need to re-connect with peers, acquaintances and friends, but I’m frankly clueless on where to look for them.
Sprinkled on top of this situation is the spice of getting older. I just had my 48th birthday, and there was a little bit of reflection about getting older and needing people. When you start to see the hint of the downhill slope into old age and all the challenges and heartbreaks that come with it, suddenly being a lone wolf doesn’t seem like a beneficial thing at all. Shouldn’t I have some kind of robust support network by this age? Am I so churlish and coarse? I don’t think so, but the doubt pricks at my mind in the dark hours of the night.
Instead of leaving this post as a morose meditation on isolation, I’m going to put on my positivity pants. First, I’ve identified the issue, and I’m admitting it is an issue. That’s, like, 90% of the battle right there (estimated percentage may be optimistically high). Second, I know there are many opportunities to get out and meet new people and expand my personal network. And third, I have faith that there are many people who, even though I do not see them frequently, would do what they could to help me when needed, because they know I’d do the same for them. Oh and fourth, my wife really loves me and she’s my best friend in the best possible sense.