It's quite disturbing to realise that I have not been in human company outside my home since March 2020. There have been just two exceptions; lunch with a friend and a wrestle last summer. Aside from that, it's been a dream-like experience in which waiting is the only reality.
I notice how tired, lonely, bored, worried and exhausted so many people are. Our social skills are becoming atrophied, and conversation is an empty bubble above our heads, waiting for a punchline. Our personal problems seem larger and without end in the absence of our usual social context. Our pastimes lie rotting in the dark. We are surely now well practiced in patience and acceptance, but this is a limited skill set and, after a while, we sit in constant discomfort.
I have thought a lot about men in prison and how they cope. Even those men serving long sentences must surely be kept alive by the knowledge that one glorious day they will be able to live fully once more. I have considered people in long term economic or political confinement and people whose health and disability places them in a lonely corner of society. There is surely much we can learn from these people. I have read their writings and pondered their observations. If I ever join their ranks I will be better prepared by all this. More empathetic too, I hope.
I have gone looking for good news stories in which progress has been made in relation to the environment, human rights, poverty and cooperation. It is there. Lots of it. It helps to know that humanity is still good.
I have read stoic philosophy and the art of response to an external reality that we cannot control. This helps too.
Our community on Meetfighters is a good thing. I see people opening up and being treated with the greatest respect. It's valuable and rare among men.
I have a hope that English society will open up over the next 3 months. I hope that the same is true in other countries. I have a very long to-do list, and many of you here are on it ;)... you know who you are.