I open up my pool for the summer around the same time every year. Each year I swear I’ll open it earlier the following year! But low and behold, it’s always right around my birthday that I decide it’s time.
It’s one of those things I’ve learned to do all by myself, and I’m proud of that. But this year, the process was a bit challenging. I cleaned, treated, and followed all of the instructions, but the water was still cloudy. It was so frustrating, doing everything right and not being able to fix it on my own. But I kept at it, and you know what? The water eventually cleared, and now it looks the best it’s ever looked. I realized the water had just needed some time to settle.
Living single during a pandemic has had its challenges. Just like with my pool, it was frustrating to feel so out of control at the beginning. Despite all of our best efforts to isolate and be safe, COVID-19 wouldn’t go away. It was tough at first to find ways to stay connected, spend time with people I care about, and find gratitude in all of this.
But what I’ve come to realize is that maybe I just needed to give it time. We’ve all had to let ourselves learn to be happy and grateful under these circumstances. Even though it hasn’t been easy, and I had to work through some difficult moments to get here, I can honestly say I’m really good now. Everything had to settle, and just like my pool, now I’m the best I’ve ever been.
Focusing on Myself
I’ve had to laugh so many times when people have said, “I’m so tired of being stuck with so-and-so during this pandemic!”, because there have been many times I wished I had someone around to get sick of! Living single during a pandemic was a bit lonely at first, but I got to focus on myself and learn that “on my own” doesn’t mean I’m alone.
If all of this had happened five years ago, I don’t know that I would come out of it very well. I had a lot of struggles, and truthfully, I was lonelier back then than I am now, living by myself. And it took me being on my own during isolation to realize that.
Living alone forced me out of my comfort zone in a lot of ways. It made me focus on being kind to myself and thinking about what I went through that brought me to where I am today. I’m braver than I’ve ever been before, and I actually enjoy doing a lot of things by myself. I’m finally at a place where I’m living 100% as myself. I don’t hide anything about who I am, and that self-acceptance has let me accept other peoples’ love for me. I feel so good about how far I’ve come.
Earlier in the pandemic, when we were isolating ourselves at home, it was hard not to feel lonely. But I found ways to connect with the people I care about. It wasn’t the same as seeing them in person, but honestly, it made such a big difference!
Zoom calls became an amazing way for me to check in with people and catch up. Once a week, I would have a Zoom call with my daughter and her significant other, and our Zoom calls became something I’d really look forward to. The hour we’d talk would always just fly by, and I loved seeing them and my grand-fur-babies, and hearing about everything going on in their city. We texted and talked more often, too, but those Zoom calls were so great.
I’d have Zoom calls with my friends, too. None of us would wear makeup or dress up – since we didn’t have anywhere to go – and it was so much fun!. Having that face-to-face conversation lets you see how people are feeling and connect in a more real way than on the phone. Zoom became a go-to way to connect with clients and other professionals too, and it just made isolation so much more tolerable.
I didn’t’ stop at Zoom, though. We had a book club in a Facebook Messenger Group, and it was such a blast, I don’t think we even talked about the book! Facetime has been great too. I’ve enjoyed it all and being able to see everyone along the way.
Getting Back Out There
Now that we’re out of isolation and things have been opening up with social distancing, I’m finding new ways to interact with people that are even better than video calls. I’m spending time with the people that I love and choose to have in my life. We’ve been safely interacting by eating outside and hanging out at my pool. It’s been really great being outdoors and connecting.
I’m sure we’ll go back to a new normal at some point, and I’m good with that. I’ve been making the best use of this time that I can, and I respect everyone’s feelings and choices. Yes, many establishments are opening back up, but I’m not going inside just yet. Not so much because I have fears or worries for myself, but I don’t want to be exposed to something I could pass onto the people I love and care about. I’m not judging anyone who does, but I’ve found other ways to be social and respectful, and I’m thankful to those who do the same for me.
A New Appreciation
Despite everything that’s been going on for the last couple of months, I can actually say that life is pretty great right now. I love being where I am. Even though I’m living single during a pandemic, I enjoy spending time with the people I’ve chosen to have in my life, and who choose to have me in theirs.
I appreciate everyone around me so much more now, and I think it’s because I don’t have any drama. I don’t have anyone in my life anymore that makes me feel less than or not good enough. There isn’t’ anyone close to me who I don’t trust, because I’ve removed anyone that didn’t’ serve me well or that wasn’t good for me.
Everything in my life is where it should be right now, and I think I have this pandemic to thank. I’ve never been happier, and I’ve never been stronger. Really! For a while there at the beginning, I had to work so hard to be grateful about living single during a pandemic. I had to be so careful about choosing and allowing things into my world at the beginning. Of course, I chose the people that make me happy and the things that give me the greatest joy. I know that’s a big part of why I feel so good about where I am.
The water in my pool really is perfect this year. I’ve been able to share it with so many people these last couple of months, socially distancing while enjoying our time together. I just had to give it time. You’re going to get where you need to be, too. It might take time to put in the work and let things settle, but you’ll get there. I know you will.