My life hasn’t really been changed by COVID-19 so far. I was already working at home and my social outings for a month involved dinner with my writing group once a month, a lunch with my mom and a lunch with my grandma about once every three weeks, and maybe another dinner in there with a friend each month.
So I didn’t really lose a lot of social interaction. And I was fortunate enough to be financially stable enough to still be able to buy groceries, etc. and to keep my job.
If I didn’t stop to think about it or check the news, I could easily forget that this whole thing is even going on for days at a time.
I told a friend that it felt like we were all playing a giant game of musical chairs and the music stopped and we all found ourselves stuck right where we were when that happened.
For me that was living alone with my dog and doing a job that requires absolutely no interaction with anyone. Which was actually okay because this is the life I purposefully created for myself over the last five years. I’m pretty much exactly where I wanted to be (barring some larger societal issues that are out of my control).
But there was something about this situation that was still bugging me and I finally figured out today what it was.
This situation took away my possibilities.
I have no real interest in being in a relationship. And I have done nothing to try to be in one for quite some time. But I will often think about the possibility of being in one. More specifically, of meeting someone. The so-called meet-cute moment.
You know, like maybe I’ll go to the bookstore and that perfect someone will be there too and we’ll start chatting and voila, lifelong happiness. Or I’ll go to visit my friend in DC and end up seated on the plane next to someone really interesting and we’ll hit it off and things will progress from there. Or I’ll go out to dinner and someone will start a witty conversation with me while I’m waiting for my friend to arrive.
The possibilities are endless.
Or at least they were.
But now we live in a world where I’m pretty much going to stay at home as much as I can for the next year and when I do go out I’ll likely be wearing a mask and staying as far away from everyone I see as possible.
If I really truly wanted to meet someone I could probably make that happen. I could do online dating with video chats, etc. and take the risk of meeting in person if I found someone promising enough.
But that’s not what I’m talking about here.
I had no intention of starting up that witty conversation while waiting for my friend. And my default when I get on a plane is to pull out a book and put on my headphones before anyone else sits down next to me and then to not look closely enough at them to even know if they’re attractive.
In reality nothing was going to happen. I was very likely not going to leave the house at all and I certainly wasn’t going to strike up a conversation with that strange person sitting at the bar next to me. (Because it’s never in reality the perfert-looking, suave person of your dreams that you end up next to. Real life is far less shiny than that.)
Just like I wasn’t going to move to Lithuania with my dog to take on a consulting project. (Although I did think about it for a day or so.) Or to New Zealand. Or Argentina.
Canada was a remote possibility but no way I’m sitting for the IELTS exam anytime soon given the current state of the world.
So this isn’t about thwarted plans. Or finding a Plan B. Or being creative to make it happen. That I can do.
No, this is about possibilities.
I miss my daydreams. I miss my “what-if” scenarios that kept me entertained. I was perfectly happy knowing I was a misanthropic curmudgeon who had no intention of interacting with actual strangers.
Right up until life came along and removed the possibility that I could actually do so if I wanted to.
Now I kind of want that back. Heck, I might even talk to a stranger if I ever get the opportunity. (Ha! Who am I kidding. I won’t. But I would like to be able to think about doing so at least…)