One of my colleagues, whose main residence is some distance from here (and whose spouse lives there) and who did not teach Fridays this fall just left, and wished us a happy Thanksgiving and Christmas, and "Maybe I'll see you in January" (we know not yet if we are in-person or all virtual for the spring)
and that hit me. It hit me very hard. I have once again cycled into the "holy crap, how am I going to DO Christmas all alone?" feeling. Thanksgiving is one thing; it's one day and then finals come up and I will have grading and stuff to do next week as well. But Christmas - well, between us going all virtual and Christmas break I am looking at pretty much six weeks with almost no human contact outside of rare grocery store runs and church (for as long as we can stay in person, which may not be much longer).
I am telling myself I did this this spring and summer, and for a lot longer (from mid-March until mid-August) but I am also filled with just....horror....at the prospect of these weeks.
Oh, I'll probably make it. I'm telling myself that between the grace of God and my own stubbornness I will make it., But I don't like it. I don't like the isolation, the endless sameness of the days, the prospect of never getting out to just do anything fun....especially now when it gets dark at like 4 pm. Standard time never bothered me before but WOW this year the earlier dark is hitting hard.
I know people have always done this - there have always been forest hermits or park rangers living in isolated areas or people out on remote farms - but wow, when you're not used to it, it's hard. And I'm surprised at how much dread I have even given the knowledge that I weathered essentially 6 months of not going anywhere (well, 6+ if you discount teaching - I think my first trip back to JoAnn's wasn't until early October).
If I weren't worried about posting it publicly and getting zoombombed or some such I'd say "periodically I will do at-home hours where you can drop in and say hi" but I suspect posting a zoom link would get me attention I didn't want.
I may just have to watch every documentary I can find and all the seasons of both Parks and Recreation and The Good Place and just....maybe the equivalent of being buff and angry will be finishing a couple sweaters and quilts during this time....and yes, I have BBC 4, and except when they have depressing programs, that will help with the isolation somewhat.
I just.....I will be so glad when this is over. I wish I had a more set date of when. I know the vaccine won't end it, but it will be a waypoint to the end and once I've been vaccinated I will feel more comfortable going out and doing things, even still masked, than I do now. But there's no real set endpoint and waiting in limbo is terrible.
If I had some creative spark and felt able to write or paint or compose or SOMETHING I would feel better about this but I can barely even READ some days, and it's terrible. My brain is destroyed and I worry I will be worth nothing when this is over, that whatever ability I had isn't coming back.