Life is so different. The new “normal.” Some of us have more courage than others; some see risk as just part of life. Others, those in the “vulnerable” category, see risk as life shortening. When the remainder of life is already short, risk is, well–riskier.

What is today’s life like? It is constrained, solitary, a little boring, and full of judgement. I can’t help getting angry with the people I see in stores not wearing masks. I have been to a few stores, and backed off from doing that very quickly. Too scary. Sometimes I feel like rolling down my car window to yell at maskless people. But I don’t.

Will this pandemic mean that many of us will remain leery of others for the long term? Will we become scared of human contact from now on? I don’t know. The situation with vaccines, not knowing if there will be one soon, if a vaccination will actually last for at least a year–all of that is uncertain. So in the meantime, those of us with a lot to lose by getting sick remain mostly at home, wistfully looking out of windows or thanking heaven for yard work. I am one of the window lookers, since a yard is no longer an option.

Is there a silver lining? I am searching for one. In the meantime, I miss my grandchildren so very much. I worry that I might become a shadowy memory to them, instead of a vital part of their lives. I miss sitting around with friends. Restaurants, our only outing in the past, are certainly not places we want to go to, although we see some of our friends risking it. Masks? A new wardrobe of flowery ones, ones with cats or artful blobs? Those are sort of fun. But the reality of all of this sinks in some days, and I feel both helpless and very sad.

One consolation is that many of us in the “vulnerable” category are in it together. We have solidarity. We can, at least this summer, sit outside at a safe distance and talk. Maybe even share a pizza. Thank heaven for FaceTime, Zoom, and all the other social media. One friend mentioned that our generation hasn’t had very much hardship, compared to the Great Wars, the Depression, the Holocaust. Perspective.

So today, I am making lasagne, looking forward to Netflix, and hoping for the best. And the kitten. There is the kitten.

Stay safe. Try to be cheerful.

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