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What Covid Has Taught Me about Me

In some ways this has been an easy year for me. I've discovered a love of being anti-social. I was never really allowed to wallow in it like I have this year. I've been in relationships where I was forced to become an extrovert to survive, cajoled, verbally abused, and chastised regularly by an ex...for many years. I know how to be an extrovert, to mingle, socialize, and work a crowd. But since March I've come to realize that I LIKE not having to go places, do things, attend events, etc. I also love the fact that I've put time and effort into creating a wonderful office for myself at home. And I have the support and freedom to work from home for my primary full-time job, exceeding previous productivity.

What's hard for me is knowing my wife and step-kids are not coping so well. They want normalcy, friends, and going out to eat in restaurants again. We've had none of those things because we're trying to be safe. And while I don't have the same kinds of fears as everyone else, I'm very conscious that this virus could permanently disable or kill me because I'm overweight, I have allergy induced asthma, and every time I get sick it settles into my lungs. Fighting to breath IS a fear I have and it's the worst.

What was also a hard realization is that I tend to pull into myself when I don't have forced socialization. I'm like a kindergartner who needs to be around people so that I don't become and insensitive to the needs of others. In the past people have assumed that I'm an extrovert because that's what I showed them. When I'm in a crowd I can be outgoing, funny, chatty, and smiley. And while I do have fun doing those sorts of things, I need absolute peace and quiet after.

I don't get charged by being around a lot of people. I get charged in the silence of solitude. I need it or I spiral into a dark and angry place. I didn't even realize that my irritability when confronted with too much noise and stimulation wasn't just me being trapped and annoyed by my loud and boisterous family. It was a symptom of my introversion and I'm still learning how to cope with that.

The Covid-19 pandemic has stripped the film from my life and made me understand what was important to me and things that really aren't. It has also shown me something I already knew, that outside my wife I don't have any close friends. I have acquaintances and friends that live far away, but no one close since I moved 7 years ago. If an amazing thing happened to me tomorrow, there is not a single person I'd call up with the news, barring my wife or mom. The internet is not the same and it's hard for me to connect deeply with people there. Life gets busy and people are left behind. My sad realization is that somewhere along the way, I left myself behind too.

And right now, I feel like the entire world is on the precipice. We are waiting to see what side the scales tip. Will we slide further into disaster when a major world leader, who has already proven his ineptness and corruption, is re-elected? Or will we start down the path of hope for a new day, a brighter future, and a chance at healing? I know none of the big political maneuvers or solving the issues of pandemic will fix my more immediate rifts. But I hope that without the pressure to fight the dark cloud of chaos, I can focus more on making myself a better person. I can try to really connect with the people around me and not be so disengaged. I want to find my passion for writing again, and to reconnect with friends who I took for granted. I guess we'll see.

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