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Viral Stories: July 2, 2020

I am both an introvert and a writer, and have actually enjoyed this simpler life, with few valid reasons to go out, now that the virus has been shown to spread so viciously, especially among the elderly.

I have learned to shop curbside once a week versus my usual every other day excursions, my list limited to the things I really need.

I’ve made a commitment to set healthy limits for myself … to exercise at least once a day, to walk outside when the weather permits, to keep in touch with family and friends by phone. To do all the household chores that I complain about, but that, when done, give me a sense of accomplishment. And to write. .

I’ve even found inventive ways to use leftovers, many of which involve stir fry and lemon oil. At the end of such a meal, I make it a point to compliment the chef, who is, coincidentally, me.

In some strange cosmic way my life has accommodated to this new normal. But in these past few weeks I’ve been struggling with something unexpected … loneliness.

Just putting that word on the page is really hard, as if I am admitting something shameful. But at the same time I feel a sense of relief.

At age 88, I think of myself as self-sufficient, independent, and why not? I’ve lived alone for so long that I’ve taken for granted that I would be able to handle all of this.

But I just woke up to the truth: that as much as I am comfortable being alone, I also need the stimulation and joy of face to face contact: visits with my beloved children and grandchildren, hugs shared with loved ones, trips to the library, lunches and dinners in favorite restaurants, movies — on the big screen at Old Mystic Art Theatre — all of which had been a precious part of my life.

I yearn to go shopping with a special friend, to have my pot luck writers come over to read and listen to each others’ work, to plan the annual birthday lunch at Water Street Cafe that I had to cancel back in early March.

I cherish both parts of my elderly life, the staying home and the being out and about. And I’m sure that this is not forever — but, I so look forward to being whole again — the homebody and the woman-about-town reunited at last!

Patricia Stamm, Stonington


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