Getting through the tail end of the pandemic
May 7, 2021 3:26 AM   Subscribe

I'm bored and lonely and I'm not sure how to change this given the current pandemic measures.

I've coped brilliantly until now, if I do say so myself. I'm a single mother of elementary school age children. I'm in my late 40s. I'm now really bored, very lonely, and longing for connection with people. All the usual outlets are out of the question right now due to lockdown. What do I do?

I've journaled enough to fill the Encyclopaedia Britannica and what I'm missing is human connection. I have some lovely friends, but I think we're all tired of walks in the park in the cold and rain by now. Perhaps I need to persist with that though. I miss male company (not necessarily in a romantic sense, just that none of my close friends are men and the incidental/acquaintance-style relationships have vanished due to lockdown). I even developed limerence on someone I don't even know, simply because I'm just so starved of any type of feedback. Fortunately and thank God I figured out what was going on - it's not the first time this has happened - and have been able to take a step back from it but it's left me shaken.

How would you approach this? I've spent so much time alone that I really need advice from someone who's not in my head. I just want to get out there and do fun stuff and meet new people, but that's not the state the world is in right now.
posted by rubbish bin night to Human Relations (11 answers total) 6 users marked this as a favorite
This is not a nag, it is an important question which might help guide people in how to answer you - are you fully vaccinated?
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 3:33 AM on May 7, 2021

Response by poster: Oh good question. Vaccines aren't rolled out amongst the general population yet where I live; only care workers and the very elderly have had them. I've got my first one this month and will be fully vaccinated by the end of June, all going well.

It's not been a major issue as everything (and I mean everything) has been shut until very recently. Shops, cafes, everything.
posted by rubbish bin night at 3:42 AM on May 7, 2021

Assuming that as you're in Dublin you won't be vaccinated for another 6 - 10 weeks. It is tough, and frankly for me it's recently got harder since we can see (some) people in the US doing things like get on planes and go shopping. Meanwhile the fact that Penny's etc will be opening up here feels totally unsafe. It's hard!

I would persist with the park walks. It's warming up at least. I'd suggest a 2M group picnic with yuor grlfriends AND BOOZE but everywhere is so packed, it's hard to pull that off unless one of the picnic people has a back garden?

Tinder? Tinder for friends? Zoom chats?
posted by DarlingBri at 3:47 AM on May 7, 2021

Agree that this stage of the pandemic is as rubbish as all the other stages.

I think persisting with meeting up with friends is sensible, but perhaps you can also cast your net wider. I can't be the only person who would have virtual coffee right now with almost anyone I've ever vaguely met before if they contacted me. Are there any former colleagues you could catch up with, or acquaintances from the kids school, or really anyone that you haven't spoken to for some time? I'm finding any kind of novelty of people refreshing in short doses.
posted by plonkee at 4:19 AM on May 7, 2021 [4 favorites]

I took up painting last year (acrylics in abstract that I'd borrow inspiration from Google Images/YouTube) and that's been a real refuge for me. I have learned a lot about the process of painting, and saw a lot of art that I wouldn't find without looking for inspiration. I'd say if you're looking for something for a few more weeks/months, picking up a new skill that you can leave behind once everyone is back out in the world could be an interesting idea.
posted by xingcat at 5:07 AM on May 7, 2021 [3 favorites]

So, this is coming from me not knowing the details of what the restrictions are where you are, especially in terms of how many households can hang out at once, but do your lovely friends overlap completely, or do you have lovely friends who don't know each other? Back in the autumn, my next-door neighbor hosted an outdoor hangout with the families in her kids' homeschool pod and I met FOUR NEW ADULTS and it was seriously a pandemic highlight for me. Even though, ordinarily, I'm not a huge fan of crossing the streams, friend-wise, so many of us are starved for new faces that even people we have NOTHING in common with can be fascinating.

So, like, if you and a friend from your "mom" group each brought a friend from your respective "work" groups to meet up (or vice versa) for a walk in the park or an outdoor picnic, that might pay big dividends. Or, as plonkee suggests, just reach out to a non-close friend who may be just as desperate for interaction as you are (I've been chatting fairly frequently with a woman I was friendly acquaintances with in college, i.e. 20 years ago).

Another thing that may be completely impossible or inappropriate, apologies if so: do you have any lingering health issues you've been meaning to attend to? I recently started physical therapy for a minor but long-standing ankle problem and I am loving having a reason to get out of the house and, again, interact with an unfamiliar human.
posted by mskyle at 5:13 AM on May 7, 2021 [2 favorites]

Online dating is draining and can eat up a lot of time. If you make it clear what you're looking for in your profile, you may find your boredom quickly disappear as a surprising number of people on the dating Apps are open to just having a pen pal or video chats only.
posted by mundo at 6:59 AM on May 7, 2021

Take walks with DIFFERENT people. It will feel more invigorating. Meet new people online (dates or friends) and that will give you more to focus your attention on.
posted by metasarah at 7:36 AM on May 7, 2021

I agree that there is no substitute for seeing people in person. Your situation sounds very isolating and hard.

Would podcasts help pass the time? There are so many out there. Some are like listening to good friends chat. Some are informative. How about One Bad Mother. During this pandemic podcasts have kept me company while walking and doing chores.

Adult coloring books? Reading? Learning a new language?

You raise a good question and I hope we figure this out together. Thank you for getting vaccinated.
posted by olopua at 8:14 AM on May 7, 2021 [1 favorite]

I took an online music production course that prioritized peer feedback and it really helped me get through the last push. We are a bit ahead of you in the US but Feb and March were tough, seeing others getting vaccinated and not knowing when I could. The class distracted me and gave me some social contact.
posted by pazazygeek at 8:56 AM on May 7, 2021

I feel like these last few months have been SUPER hard; there's a limit to how bored one can be without starting to feel unhinged. And it's much harder to endure the boredom when enough other people are vaccinated that we're no longer "all in this together."* Even when you know there's a reason to wait your turn, even when you know your turn is coming. It just sucks, so so much, like all the rest of it sucked.

I'm going to guess that you have a million and five ways to "pass the time." What you want is a way to feel like a living breathing human again, not just someone stuck in cold storage.

Do you have any kind of time frame between now and eventual "opening up"? Could you use that to select some kind of project for which the After Times is a deadline? For example, in September you are going to host a cocktail party and so before Sept 1 you need to:
-plan a theme
-make or find decorations
-invent 2 themed cocktails and practice them
-design a menu and practice it etc. etc.?

That way you're not just doing something for the sake of filling your hours, but rather for the sake of achieving something with a tangible outcome.

*Of course, many many people (especially in the US) have flouted the pandemic regulations and lived their lives as normal from the start. But, arguably, they were always facing the same risk as the rest of us.
posted by We put our faith in Blast Hardcheese at 1:52 PM on May 7, 2021

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