We’re living through dangerous times—I keep reading this. Isolating, lonely, dreaming dark thoughts. Degrading mental health. Well people become depressed, too much time alone, too much time in their heads. Extroverts. I feel for them, I do.
Today my company gave me a Panera gift card. The money they would have spent on a holiday party, split forty ways. Enough for a nice lunch. Carry out. Dining in is not an option, not now, not in Pennsylvania. A sandwich at my desk. Party!
It’s cool. It’s what I do every day. I like it
Last year before the holiday party, I practiced with Susan. We strategized. I identified people I might talk with. Stored discussion topics in my back pocket. Devised ways to look engaged even when I felt isolated—isolated in a room full of people. I got through it that time. My planning paid off. I think I put up a good front, looked comfortable. I might have made a friend—a year later, I still not sure. We say hi.
Tonight, I sat home with my family. We watched an episode of Futurama. I read for a while, wrote a bit. A year ago, my night would have left me uneasy, made me question what I’m getting out of life. I might have ranked myself a loser, unpopular, uncool. Tonight, I took comfort in knowing that everyone in the world did exactly the same thing.
I now fit in.
The pandemic is winding down. Ok, actually it’s raging, 730,000 people got sick today, a third of them in the United States. We’re a long way from done, but a second vaccine was approved today by the FDA. For developed countries, the end is in sight. 2022 should be back to normal. Extroverts will mingle, throw parties, work functions, gatherings. Introverts will suffer; we’ll meet social obligations despite discomfort and dream dark thoughts. I’ll miss these days when everyone stayed home and kept to themselves. When I felt normal.