Aloneness

I have just spent more than a year and a half by myself. Because of the pandemic, I isolated myself from human contact to protect my health starting a year ago last March. As an aging man with a history of lung cancer (the upper lobe of my right lung was surgically removed in 2015), I was especially vulnerable to covid-19 which, had I contracted it, would almost certainly have killed me. So I limited my human contact to occasional trips to the grocery store.

That time is ending. I have had several visitors lately in addition to participating in a parade, attending Veterans Day celebrations, and offering my fall of Saigon presentation twice. In the coming week, I’ll welcome a visit from my eldest daughter and her husband and a group of friends who will celebrate my birthday.

My time of isolation was less of a burden to me than it would have been to someone more gregarious. I am a loner by habit and preference. I’m very reluctant to depend on others due to a childhood with a father in prison and a drunken mother when I had no one but myself to rely on myself for food and shelter. I learned early that I could depend on myself but not on others. My self-reliance paid high dividends during my years spent supporting troops on the battlefield when my survival was pretty much up to me.

And I am a writer, a profession that demands working alone. With six books and 17 short stories in print, I’ve had plenty of practice in working by myself.

Maybe as a result of the life I’ve lived, I’m content with spending time alone. It feels normal and relaxing whereas being with others is something of a strain. I guess that’s all to the good because I have two more books to write. I’m a slow writer, and my books takes years to complete.

I guess I know what my future holds.

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