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But, I’m not too surprised. His wife of over 50 years died a few years ago, and he has regularly told me how lonely he has been. He is a great guy and has a big heart. And people tend to take advantage of that. So, we are all a bit protective of him.
He’s also the kind of guy who that if things aren’t good, he will stick it out and try and make it work for the rest of his life. He is not a quitter. He does not run from his problems. And he told my mother, “I’m 80 years old and I just don’t want to be alone for the rest of my life.
So, I wish him the best, I regret that I can’t be there for his wedding, and I know he deserves to be happy. And in these troubled times, maybe that is enough.
The fact of the matter is that I know a lot of people who are taking paths in their lives now that I never would have expected. They see what is going on worldwide—not just with the coronavirus—and they have a sense of tread. They don’t see how things can get better, or that they will ever see the world they grew up in again.
Honestly, I don’t think I will either. But I’m lucky, I have a unique situation in that we have a home in the country that keeps us pretty safe from the virus. We have two couples of friends out here who keep away from almost everyone and have been very careful to follow the recommendations about social distancing, handwashing and mask wearing. Like us, they are taking the virus seriously. So, we hang out with them once a week or so and our life here is still almost normal.
Again, I am very lucky. My life here is good and even the craziness in the world does not impact it much on a day to day basis.
But I worry about my friends in Cuenca. I know many of them are alone and locked down in their apartments, which they have rarely left in five months. I can’t even imagine having to deal with that.
I worry about my mother too. She lives alone in Florida and is terrified about going out and running into people who still refuse to wear masks in that state (idiots). She also just had to “batten down the hatches” for Hurricane Isaias. Not an easy job for her. Fortunately, the storm just swept by the coast and had little effect on the town she lives in.
Getting back to my friends who don’t see their world ever coming back. I understand how they feel that way. Because growing up in the United States in the 50s, 60s or 70s was relatively stress free and you could wake up each day thinking that nothing bad was going to happen.
Not so much today. Or at least it seems that way. But what I told one of my friends this week was that the world has always pretty much been a shit show. But news travelled slowly for a long time, so we never knew how bad things really were. We rarely saw all the chaos that was happening on other parts of the globe. And when the news of something bad did reach us, it was usually so old we thought things might have improved.
But now, things happen and an instant later they appear on your phone, your computer or your television. There is no buffer. And because those media rely on constant news to fill their white space, news is often manufactured. To the point where you can’t really tell what is true or fake, what is worth your time to read, or what is just an outright a waste of everyone’s time and never should have been published.
Nonetheless, that is the world we live in now. It is the same world we grew up in, but we just don’t have the filters keeping the bad stuff away anymore.
However, with that instantaneous news that is forced into our head also comes the opportunity for knowledge. To learn about things we never knew about. The same technology that brings us all the useless chatter also brings us the opportunity to connect easily with friends and family. To learn about something we always had an interest in and never had the time to study. It even makes some of our lives last longer thanks to stunning medical breakthroughs.
So, for all of my friends who are saddened by all that they are seeing, consider this. It’s up to you to filter out the bad and take in the good. It’s up to you to find a way to use any of that extra time you may have been given. And it’s up to you to not let your aloneness feel so deep.
Get up and contact some old friends with that technology. Or get online and learn a new skill. Or add all those books you never got to read to your tablet and start catching up on what you missed.
Your world is never coming back. But if you react to this world in a different way, your current world really can be something to love.
But do me a favor, just don’t go and get married to someone you just met. I can only handle that with one friend at a time.
I’m just sayin.
P.S. In the last few weeks I finished reading the recent books by John Bolton and Mary Trump. Bolton’s book was well worth reading (though I would not say he is a good writer). Likewise, Mary Trump’s book was good, but short, and often times seemed to be an ode to her father as much as it was a repudiation of her uncle and family.