How the Singles are Coping

by Taylor Boileau Davidson

This is such a weird time. For all the reasons that have just come to your mind, and for more reasons still.

I was scrolling through my Facebook feed and I keep seeing posts like “how to be single during a pandemic” and it suddenly strikes me that we’ve lived the last ten years finding online instructions for absolutely everything we’ve ever had to do. I suppose it isn’t so unnatural for us to seek more guidance now that tragedy has struck.

I have no doubt that there is a wikihow on grieving. But I wonder who has written these things. Who is the uncontested expert on grief, or on being single during a pandemic? Has the author of this article been through a pandemic before and understands the in’s and out’s of being single during? Or do they have just about as much experience as the rest of us?

I for one, am not single presently. But I feel for my friends who have shared with me the pain and “fear of missing out” on their potential mate that they are postponing the meeting of. After all, it is said that not one moment can be spared, otherwise you truest soulmate might pass you by, never to be seen again. Not to mention, it has been their sole purpose for as much as all their life to date, it seems rather silly to stop dead, not to mention frustrating.

I’m sure that that lovely article has some excellent advice on how to embody the utter freedom of dancing as though no one is watching. To foster the strong independence that can resonate inside you during your utter aloneness. But I have something else to suggest, something that can be done whether you’re single, or married, or divorced, or trying madly to protect your children from illness.

I have a feeling that suffering aloneness is not a privilege only the single are suffering from right now. I think all of us are missing someone right now, and are hoping for articles online to come about, written by people with just as little experience as we have on living through a pandemic. I have a feeling that each of us are suffering and also a little bit relieved that something is finally being done. For we are living in troubled times.

That expression, “troubled times,” is not contained within the confines of the authorities who’ve declared a state of emergency. It has been knocking around in my head in the face of the many potential catastrophes that have been on the horizon for my generation. Troubled times has been a panic I’ve had inside of me for many years, and I am suffering them still, just as we all are.

So relief of the drastic measures is one side of the coin, and the other is the sheer panic of uncertainty. I was single once, and I staved that panic by finding a soulmate, only to see that there was another panic just around the corner. And today I am suffering still, and the only thing that I think we can do in a time such as this is to suffer through.

Stephen Jenkinson reminded me lately that we’ve had our sedative day jobs removed from in front of us. The singles can no longer seek soulmates and the parents can no longer sick themselves on the daily grind. I can no longer hold my breath and attempt to finish my degree, because the reality of things has settled itself staunchly in my living room, as it has with us all, and I see no other way but to begin living with it. The troubles are not near over.

Perhaps, what we do right now is suffer. The single will suffer their aloneness and their fear, as we will suffer our aloneness and our fear. We might dance and we might Zumba in our living rooms, or clean our pantries and fold our laundry. But I truly hope, that we resign ourselves to suffer and to grieve for the state of things as they are right now. I can’t say that it’ll fix anything, but at least it’ll be something different.

With thanks to ‘Window’ by Stephen Jenkinson for inspiration: