Recently, a client said to me, “I’m over 50. I wasn’t that good at dating before COVID. Now, I’ve become so isolated, I’m not sure I know how to talk to people, make friends or be social. In some ways, the pandemic served my need to disappear into myself and not make an effort to reach out. But in other ways, I’m worse. I’ve lost touch with the few friends I did have; the slim opportunities to meet someone that existed before lockdown. I think being my age, plus being alone for this long, complicates my ever finding love and a partner.”
I think we can all relate to many parts of what this person is experiencing. Who didn’t sit in their old sweats for days, in front of the TV or computer, and not venture outside? Unless you already had a housemate or a lover, chances became much more difficult to meet someone during the pandemic. And there was fear clouding everything.
For all the struggle, loss and suffering we’ve been through, for those left standing, let this be a time for your spirit to rise. Why not say what you want, and do and be what you’ve longed for? Find the friends, love, work, fun and play that has eluded you until now. Let COVID be the catalyst to inspire you into your future.
How does that happen?
By taking a tip toe forward in reaching out to someone. Give your analyzing, judging and criticizing a rest. Tell yourself–or someone you trust to help you keep agreements–that you are going to make one gesture every day to connect with others. It might be a smile and a hello; it could be a phone call to someone you haven’t talked to in a long time. But inch forward easily. Don’t get discouraged.
Take a week of reaching out to a different person a day. Double it the next week. I suggest small steps because taking big leaps toward people or jobs or new ideas, when you don’t have practice talking to people, can set you back when they don’t turn out the way you want.
Next, explore a new or forgotten activity. Have you ever wanted to try volleyball, tennis, writing, knitting or photography? Did you used to ride horses, go camping, sculpt or paint with watercolors? Discover or rediscover a source of pleasure that gives peace or passion. When you find it, look for your communal friends in the midst of what you’re doing. Guaranteed–it won’t be difficult to start a conversation.
And finally, in seeking more purpose or exploring your longings, consider a singles group, yoga class, meditation, or counseling. You may also find exhilaration in hiking on nature’s paths, jogging on trails, biking with the wind in your face, or starting a small garden. Find your solemn and sacred place here–on earth.
While always taking care of your health, can there be dating and love after COVID? Absolutely. The above actions will help lead you out of your PJs, into the fresh air, and into a world that waits to know you. If you stick with it, you’ll find your partner out there who is looking for you too.