Last night I was reading and began seeing the pandemic as a journey. The pandemic has been a journey for everyone, but especially for those in solitude. For those of us in solitude, it has required that we completely change how we consume the media and how we interact with the world. We go for weeks without hugs, without kisses, without meals with other people. For weeks, we may exchange a few words at a shop or petrol station but without ever having in person conversations.
This changes us. I believe that this is why I walked two to three kilometres further, sometimes, to avoid being within meters of others. Solitude is painful when we are reminded that others are not solitary. Bizarrely, with time, the pain of pandemic solitude diminishes as we give up on some aspects of life.
Giving up on those aspects does mean avoiding most films, television series, current affairs podcasts. Instead of listening to the usual content, I ended up with podcasts about journeys, whether the American thru-hikes or other forms of journeys. I am currently reading “Le Camino Seule, enfin presque” and this is what made me think of the pandemic as a journey, where we work on ourselves, on our inner journey, while waiting impatiently for normality to return.
It isn’t easy to turn fourty in solitude during a pandemic. It wouldn’t be easy out of pandemic either, because we know that doors are closing. The energy to be lively around toddlers, of not going on road trips and sitting in cafés alone. Of never speaking about “we” because of the never-ending I of solitude.
I am fine with solitude. What bothers me is ageing and theoretically running out of time to experience certain chapters in the standard model life, as I like to call it.
The pandemic has forced us to accept two years of solitude, and to cope with it, to be fine with it. I refuse to accept the fatalism of married people, and people who have a home life. I want society to do what it can to end this pandemic. Teenagers, children and single people are forced to grow old without being able to enjoy a “normal” life because those who are not alone make excuses for not self-isolating.
I like solitude because I am not expected to feel sorry for people who have more than me, emotionally. I am not forced to hear things that make me miserable. Whether we are miserable or not, during this pandemic, depends on what we are subjected to. Solitude is pleasant. Fatalism about the pandemic being out of control is soul-destroying.
Pandemic life is absurd, so the sooner it ends, the sooner people who are not in solitude, do what they can to end the pandemic, the sooner people in solitude, can start experiencing social lives again.
I want the pandemic to end, and I want people in power to stop making excuses for why this evergreen pandemic can’t end. The pandemic could end within two or three months, if we had ambitious optimists in power, rather than corrupt individuals. For clarity, I mean corrupt in the sense that people are too afraid to lose their job, than to fight for human rights. The right to health, the right to live out of pandemic.