There’s a lot of loneliness going around right now with the self-imposed isolation strongly suggested by our governor.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m in favor of the various types of quarantining taking place. There are those like my friend Jen who stayed at home with her children and husband for five weeks without leaving their property. There are others who post funny, happy posts on social media documenting their days of schooling at home, holiday meals with mom, dad and four or five children; others who work from home and only head to the grocery store when absolutely necessary, covered in a beautiful cloth mask another friend made for them.

Then, there are those who live alone, like I do. Well, I’m not exactly alone – I find myself talking to my dog quite a bit.

I’m fortunate that I’m a highly functioning introvert – although I require downtime to recharge from social activities and experiences. There have been no social activities or experiences as of late, so I ought to be operating at 100 percent.

I miss my folks out in the Middle of Nowhere, I miss my friend and colleague Mary, and I miss the interactions of sitting down for a good interview person-to-person. However, I am willing to do my part to keep six feet away when I am granted a “live” interview and I carry my mask (custom made for me and my large head by my mom, thanks mom!) wherever I go.

Even for an introvert, this is a lonely time. I’m not used to being alone THIS much. I find I snack more, I sleep less, tossing and turning and worrying about my kids, my grandkids, the world, print news, the economy and the world, just to name a few of the things that keep me wide awake at night.

In my adult life and perhaps even my childhood, I’ve always been social on my own terms, considering the pros and cons of going somewhere or hanging out with a large group of people. My ideal large gathering actually consists of no more than a handful of people. I’ve been accused of being stuck-up or not participating in large gatherings, but truth is, I’m not comfortable making small talk.

Sit me down one-on-one or with a close knit group of two or three friends and I can keep up with the best of them. Deep subjects intrigue me, politics bore me, but tell me what makes you tick, what you’re passionate about and I’m listening as intently as possible. This is a good trait for a writer, an individual who loves telling other people’s stories in the brightest light possible.

As with nearly everything in life, there’s pros and cons to being alone – which is different than being lonely.

Pros: I get to listen to whatever music I want to, I can work hours into the evening on the laptop without being accused of ignoring anyone, I can eat popcorn, cheese and olives, or berries for dinner and no one complains I’m not feeding them.

Cons: I love to cook for other people and it feels good to share a home-cooked meal with folks I care about; I work long hours and eventually I hit burnout or I get sick, and require time to recharge my batteries; I talk to the dog.

As the saying goes, if you can’t be with the ones you love, then love the ones you’re with. This includes being thankful for the husband who is presently driving you crazy while you’re isolating at home together and the passel of children and/or grandkids who you cannot escape from until the last one falls asleep for the night.

It could be worse – you could be left with only the dog to talk to (don’t judge me).

Stay safe and go wash your hands again . . . and be thankful for the ones you’re with.

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