I Don’t Socialize Much In Person, But I Don’t Feel Lonely Or Isolated

Spring has finally sprung. I’m glad to see the end of winter. My aches and pains have been essentially non existent the last several days. Most days I’m asleep by 10pm and up for good by 5am. I’m back to listening to audiobooks again after a few weeks of vacation I still have no desire to socialize in person. I do talk to friends and family a few times a day. But I spend most of my time alone.

I’m still losing weight, at least as far as I can tell. I can stand for longer periods of time now. I have fewer aches and pains. Things are going alright on that end.

I’m still afraid to socialize in person. I’m also scared to leave my apartment. My paranoia keeps me at home most of the time. I’m just scared of people anymore. I just don’t know how to read them anymore. It’s far easier for me to socialize over the phone and online than it is to socialize in person. The pandemic hasn’t been as tough on me as most people. I love that I can socialize online and on the phone. I love that I can get my groceries and medications delivered to my home. I love that I have a cleaning lady comes to my place once a week. I love being able to make payments online. I enjoy streaming services like Netflix and Amazon Prime. Absolutely love my Audible audiobooks. Sometimes I can spend hours at a time listening to audiobooks while playing computer games. I even love doing my doctors’ appointments via Zoom calls. I have too much sensory overload to be a safe driver anymore. Haven’t driven a car in almost three years. Saved me lots of money and headaches. I now know that my car accident several years ago spooked me real bad. It killed my love for driving.

Even though I’m afraid to socialize in person anymore, I really don’t feel like I’m missing out on much. It’s always been really tough for me to find people with similar interests. It’s gotten tougher the older I got. Most of my old friends have families and careers, so their ability to socialize with me is at a minimum. I haven’t seen my friend Matt since 2015. I haven’t been to a family reunion in probably ten years. I’ve been outside of my town only once since the start of the pandemic. While my physical world has gotten much smaller the last few years, my mental world has gotten much bigger. I probably spend six to eight hours per day reading, watching documentaries, and just learning new things. I’ve learned more history, economics, philosophy, science, etc. since 2015 than all the years before that.

One of the things I enjoy about being in my forties is that I no longer feel pressured to conform to others’ expectations. If I don’t want to leave my apartment for days at a time, I don’t leave my apartment. And I no longer feel any shame for wanting to stay home. I didn’t use to be a homebody. When I was in my teens and twenties, I preferred to spend time at my friends’ houses. I went roadtripping with my college friends every summer in my twenties and early thrities. I started becoming a homebody about five years ago. And the pandemic has accelerated this trend. I no longer feel like eating in restaurants or going out in public. I know many people feel like I’m missing out on life by not going to movies or sporting events or restaurants. But I don’t feel that way. I just hate being forced out of my home.

Even though I don’t have a paying job or a family, I don’t feel incomplete or a failure. I have, on average, written one blog entry per week over the last nine years. While it doesn’t have much of an audience, I still love doing it. I see no reason to quit doing this. It has given me more meaning in my life than any job or dating relationship ever did.

March 20 2022

Another winter has passed. I spent most of it in my apartment. At this point I’m too paranoid and scared to interact with people in person anymore. I’m content to spend my days reading, watching youtube videos, and napping. I still sleep a great deal. Seems to be good therapy.

Mentally I feel stable. I want to go out and about but the fear and paranoia hold me back. I guess I’ve accepted that normal is never coming back.

March 16 2022

Feeling pretty decent the last few days. My joints are hurting less. Haven’t had to take any advil for a few days. I still spend most of my time at home. I read and watch educational videos most days. Renewed my Netflix several weeks ago. I often watch Spanish language shows with English subtitles. I think some of my Spanish is starting to come back.

I sleep half of the night in my recliner and the other half in my bed. Half of the time in bed, I lay on my sides. First time I’ve done that in a few years. I almost rolled out of bed a few days ago. I’ve lost enough fat that sleeping on my sides is easier now. I’m not sure how much weight I’ve lost since the pandemic started. I know it’s at least 80 pounds as that is where I was during my last doctor’s appointment back in October. I don’t have any immediate goals for health and weight loss other than I eventually want to get back to my old college weight. That will take at least a couple more years.

Yet the weight loss doesn’t feel like drudge work. The biggest changes I made were giving up bread, sugar, fried food, and most fast food. I haven’t bought bread in over two years. Haven’t had even a Big Mac in almost five years. Most fast food is too greasy and salty for me anymore. Upsets my stomach too. Most of my diet is now grilled and baked chicken, pork, vegetables, and soups. It’s easier, at least for me, to cook healthier meals now than even five years ago. It also helps that I’m cooking only for myself as I live alone.

Even though my aches and pains are reducing, my mobility hasn’t come back as quick as I would like. So, my family and I hired someone to help me with my laundry on the weekends. I just provide the coins and laundry soap, she supplies the labor. Even though my mobility is all but gone, I’m glad to be getting help around my house. Makes me glad I was helpful to others in my younger days when I was still quite healthy. See, kids, it pays to not be a jerk to people.

Don’t have any real plans for St. Patrick’s Day even though I’m 20 percent Irish. I’m just glad that winter is about over.

March 10 2022

Got several inches of snow over the last couple days. Been really cold too. Haven’t left my apartment in over a week except to accept grocery deliveries. I still talk to friends and family on a daily basis. I still sleep a lot but I usually sleep only a couple hours at a time. Been feeling more aches and pains again. I just want to stay home all the time anymore. Sometimes I don’t even want to eat. I try to avoid the news anymore, even online materials. Bought some extra groceries. Who knows how high prices are going to get. Gas is close to $4 a gallon in my hometown and we are below national average. I guess it’s a good time to be a hermit and away from most people.

I’m Ready For Some Good News

Been watching the news online on and off all week. Breaks my heart that we made it through a pandemic only to have a major war. While I managed to make it through the pandemic and am thousands of miles away from the war, the last several years have taken a toll on me. I’m more or less house bound anymore because of my mental illness and chronic pain. At this point, I don’t even want to leave my house unless absolutely necessary. I’m too discouraged and disheartened to interact with most people in person anymore. I still hear from my neighbor across the hall several times a week. Maintenance was in my apartment to replace my intercom a few days ago.

All of this discouragement and anxiety is taking a toll. I am afraid of most people anymore. I am afraid of having a mental breakdown in public. I am afraid people will pick fights just because I may not agree with them. I know only a handful of people (myself included) who haven’t gotten covid. Even my brother has had it at least twice. I’d rather not talk to a therapist about all of this. I just want to vent to friends and family. Therapists are neither. I don’t need therapy. I need the support of real family and friends. Therapists are a poor substitute for both.

I am, like most people, spending more of my budget on groceries. Prices on everything have gone up. I’ve had to change my eating habits to make the budget work. So glad I no longer have a car. I get sticker shock every time I go shopping. Can’t even remember the last time I bought ground beef, let alone steak.

I’m scared of socializing. I’m tired of being forced into pointless drama. I’m tired of everything going wrong all the time. I can understand why monks and scholars have voluntarily isolated themselves from the rest of the world for thousands of years. I more or less do just that, even if it is just my apartment. And I’m content and happy with it. What bothers me is that most people I know can’t understand why I’m happy to be alone all the time with my books and computers. I have never enjoyed social gatherings or workplace parties that much. I don’t even like watching sporting events anymore. They just lost their appeal for me. I wouldn’t even do fantasy league baseball if not for a few friends. And now the baseball season may be delayed because of a lockout. I swear nothing works like it’s supposed to anymore. I’m just ready for some good news again.