I realised this morning that now I cannot go out I have fallen back into an old routine. For many years my late husband, John, had a severely compromised immune system from all the cancer treatment he had had so we effectively self-isolated all the time. There were trips to the GP surgery and the hospital and a weekly shopping trip where he drove me to the supermarket and waited in the car whilst I whizzed round with my shopping list and then drove me home. Family couldn’t visit because they brought ‘strange’ germs and he always ended up in hospital again. Similarly any of our friends who were not local which was the vast majority. As I indicated in my last post communication was much more difficult and with such restricted lives our conversation was hardly sparkling so gradually most of those friends drifted away.
After he died I was able to have much more contact with my family but distance was still a factor with them and I knew it would take time for relationships to adjust, settle and grow. My grandchildren hardly knew me. I realised that I was very dependent on the kindness of a few very generous neighbours.
So I decided I needed to build a new social life relatively close to home. It sounds cold-blooded put like that but as I was retired and live in a fairly isolated place the world was hardly going to beat a path to my door asking me out to play! I accepted every invitation to go to events. I joined a Welsh class knowing that many of the other students would be people who had moved to the area fairly recently. I found a yoga class, signed up for craft courses, looked for volunteering opportunities…. A lot of these things proved a waste of time either because the activity didn’t appeal or because the people I met were not particularly friendly. But little by little I found places where I felt I belonged and people who welcomed me. If you have been reading this blog for a while you will have met many of them. And those of you who read and comment are forming another circle who I enjoy ‘meeting’ and who extend my horizons.
Looking ahead to my 70th Birthday this summer and how I might celebrate it I became aware of just how many people I would love to invite to share it with me. All plans are, of course, on hold but just knowing that all those connections exist makes me feel truly blessed.