Reflections from Isolation. A journal entry by Alan Simpson

I am now over a month into staying at home. My last day at work was March 13. My last day driving to work to empty the book drop was March 17. Since then I have left the neighborhood a handful of times for food and other necessities. You would think this would be easy for someone who always said they want to be a hermit, but I’m finding that a forced hermit life is different than voluntary hermit life. I want to be home because I want to be home, not because I have to be home. Here are some reflections from my time:

Isolation is not new for me – The only thing that has really changed for me in the last month is that I’m working from my couch instead of working from the branch. My life before the quarantine was working 9-5, driving home, and then sitting on my couch reading or watching TV alone for a couple of hours until my wife got home. We would eat dinner and then watch TV until bed. We didn’t go out. We didn’t have friends over. We didn’t do much. The big changes for me – I can’t go sit somewhere for coffee for a change of scenery and we are all home all the time. I was already socially isolated. I don’t see that changing when we open back up.

My circle is very small – A friend commented on one of my posts that your quarantine circle is your real circle. The people not in your quarantine circle don’t matter to you when you can choose. My circle is basically my wife and kids. I text my siblings who are in Kentucky. That’s it. That’s who I have. No surprise given the paragraph above.

I envy retired people – I know I am fortunate to have a job I can do from home and that  I still have a paycheck. I’m fortunate that I don’t have to work with the public right now. Considering the alternatives, we are in a very good place. I will admit though that I am much happier on weekends when I am scrubbing toilets or doing yardwork than I am during the week when I am working. I think my mental health would be in a much better place if every day was a day working on stuff around the house rather than what I am spending my time doing. That’s not really a change though. I was ready for retirement before working from home. It’s just more pronounced now.

Reading is hard right now – You would think this would be a perfect time to catch up on reading, but I find it hard to concentrate on a book for an extended period of time. I’m finding it hard to concentrate on much of anything right now.

I mainly want this to be over for my kids, not for me – I want life to get back to normal. It will be nice to be able to go out to eat or get coffee out. It will be nice to be free to move about, but as I said above, I didn’t do much of that before. I really want this to be over for my kids. I want my daughter to be able to go live on campus again in the fall. I want her to be able to hang out with her friends in person. I want my son to be able to play ultimate frisbee with his friends again. I want him to be able to go to work and do the things he enjoys. I can live with isolation. I’ve done it for years. I don’t want it for them.


Blogger here, an aspiring retiree.

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