PSA: Please check on your single friends who live alone.
Several weeks ago, I got an email from a married friend asking if I was okay. It was weird because she almost never emails me. Her message said she was emailing because I hadn’t responded to her text messages; she was concerned. She sent the email because it was uncharacteristic of me to go days, much less more than a few hours, without responding to her texts. Knowing that I live by myself and because of all that’s been happening with COVID-19, she wanted to make sure nothing had happened.
Fellow navigator, can I tell you how much it warmed my heart to receive that email from her? I mean, I nearly cried reading her message. After about a week and some troubleshooting, we were able to begin receiving and sending texts. It turns out there was an issue with the phones/network where, for whatever reason, she didn’t receive my responses to her texts (only mine).
Living single while quarantined is not for the faint of heart. In fact, if you’re not used to being in your own company on a fairly regular basis, it can be darn-near depressing. I feel like I have it even worse because I’m also self-employed; I spend a lot of time in my apartment or by myself somewhere. When you’re married, you at least have another adult to communicate with about everything from the most mundane to the overly complex. There’s someone to bounce ideas off, and you can easily find things to do that allow you to decompress or forget that you’re essentially confined to one space indefinitely.
“In fact, if you’re not used to being in your own company on a fairly regular basis, it can be darn-near depressing.”
While this quarantined life wasn’t a huge adjustment for me, I’ve definitely had my share of struggles being home alone almost 24/7. Minus the once a week (if even that) grocery, mail, or trash run, I haven’t left my apartment in over a month. Although some leaders in Georgia have not taken this pandemic seriously, I shut almost everything down when they closed the schools. I live in a place where people don’t check in during normal conditions; I can’t dare count on them to so much as pick up a phone in the middle of this mess.
There’s no doubt that the number of cases of people struggling with mental health issues and depression will increase the longer quarantined life continues. I’m sad to even think about the number of suicidal attempts that will take place because people are lonely and uncertain how to survive their new normal. This is real, and we don’t want to assume people are alright until it’s too late.
Take it from me: there are many days when I’m not ok. My one constant is literally taking stock of my life and remembering how good God has been to me thus far. I lost about 85% of my income when this pandemic began; I honestly can’t tell you how I’m still living day-to-day. As the one who has contingencies for my contingencies, I did not see this pandemic hitting us as hard as it has. All I know is that I’m grateful for a father who helps when he can, past life experiences that have taught me how to survive with little, and a God who continues to provide opportunities for work.
“Take it from me: there are many days when I’m not ok.”
We’re deviating from the “not I” theme this week because this needs to be said. It takes less than five minutes to pick up a phone and actually talk with a single friend who lives alone, especially someone you don’t talk to regularly. Don’t send a text. Don’t shoot an email. Call. I’m the person who will give a generic response to a text if someone I don’t unusually talk to decides to “check on me.” If the person was really concerned, they’d pick up a phone. It’s as simple as that.
I’m grateful that my friend was resourceful enough to find another way of trying to reach me when texting and calling wasn’t working. It showed me that she was determined to reach me when one avenue failed. It told me she valued me enough to try until she was certain I was ok. It made me feel loved beyond measure. That’s what us singles need. There’s but so much a man can do. In these times, the knowledge that we matter is enough. Period.
Fellow navigator, have you been having some of the same feelings living this quarantined life? What are you doing to help pass the time and stay sane? Who has made you feel like you mattered recently?