Some people live alone due to circumstances in their life, for example, the death of a spouse, divorce, being a single parent when the last child moves out of the house, etc. Other people truly like to be alone. George Harrison’s first song, written in 1963, was titled “Don’t Bother Me” and famously contains the lyrics, “Leave me alone, don’t bother me, leave me alone.” (Hopefully, all readers of this post know George Harrison was 1/4 of my favorite group, The Beatles!) On the day I am writing this post, we, in the U.S.A., have been under some sort of social distancing, isolation, stay at home, or quarantine orders for 1 month with, as of this writing, no clear end in sight. I have spoken to, emailed, texted, or otherwise been in contact with many people over this past month. Most people with whom I’ve had contact have expressed fear, boredom, and loneliness in being forced to stay inside their home, spending time with only those people with whom they live. The single, widowed, separated (for many reasons, including not being permitted to visit a spouse who resides in a nursing home), or divorced people I know are often the people who share their feelings of loneliness with me. But, some people with whom I have had contact in the past month have told me their life is largely unchanged and that they don’t mind sitting around their house with little or nothing to do. Several people with whom I’ve spoken have told me they are glad, very glad, they do not have to be stuck at home for an indefinite amount of time with screaming children, barking dogs, and a spouse they are accustomed to seeing on a limited basis. These are people who like to be alone, regardless of the circumstances. This is one of those things that lead me to say, “Whatever works for you is fine with me” before moving on to another topic of conversation. People are different, with some being more social and preferring to be with other people and others, preferring the quiet solitude of their own company.
In the current time of forced social distancing, it seems that some people have quickly become more distant than others. I think of friends who live alone and who, most of the time are happy or comfortable with it. But, forced isolation for many people has become more constricting. Under “normal” or at least usual, times, their worlds don’t seem so lonely. Now, with abnormal times, the inability to speak with people during the normal course of a day whether in a working situation or even going out to eat in a restaurant becomes problematic. Worse even are those individuals in assisted living facilities (ALFs), nursing homes, and hospitals. My parents are both in facilities and while Mom’s dementia is such that she doesn’t know what she is missing, as far as I know, Dad does. He is not alone by choice. These days, even people who are normally alone are probably feeling the pains of forced isolation. And, this is a reminder to try to find ways to contact, communicate, and share some human contact in any way possible. (See also Wellness Checks https://magnusinsights.com/2020/05/wellness-checks/).