Loneliness: a major side effect from the pandemic

When I moved to Melbourne over two years ago, I was really excited to have change in my life, having come out of a stale relationship and a stagnant routine in Sydney.

It was a very exciting period of my life as I started a new job, met lots of new people, dated and discovered Melbourne with all of its quirky laneways and amazing coffee and wine bars.

It was not all smooth sailing though — I went through the pitfalls of shared living, a job that didn’t suit me and lots of disappointing dating experiences.

However, things got better eventually — I got my own flat, met a great guy and landed a new job. Life was looking up. But then the coronavirus pandemic came to Australia and my world was turned upside down, as everyone else’s was too.

I had a pretty active social life before the pandemic but I had to give it up and my social life only consisted of my boyfriend. There was no more travelling, no café outings, no bar hopping and no cinema outings. Life came to a standstill and has been very quiet for a couple of months.

While I have enjoyed slowing down and having a break from “normal life”, not seeing my friends, family and coworkers has resulted in a profound loneliness. There is only so long I can enjoy my own company and as much as I enjoy my boyfriend’s company — even we cannot spend all our time together.

Thankfully, restrictions have started to lift in Melbourne and I am slowly regaining a social life. Each weekend, I try to meet a friend or two for coffee and a walk. It feels so good to see people face-to-face again. It beats phone and video calls hands down.

Some friendships have flourished during this period, but others have not and I would not be surprised if I am left with less friendships once the pandemic ends. This doesn’t worry me though as I feel this period has shown me who my true friends are.

My office will not be open for a while longer — so I can enjoy more time at home before I am finally out in the world again. Once I return to work, I will have to warm up my social skills again — asking coworkers how their weekends were and saying “hello” and “goodbye” to my team everyday.

I want to slowly ease back into real life but am looking forward to being part of the world again — going to the office, meeting a friend for a drink, watching a movie. Life will get busy again but it sure will be a lot less lonely.

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Helen van Soest

Helen van Soest

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I’m a writer and editor, currently living in Melbourne, Australia. I love reading books, articles and blogs. See my blog: https://myhsp.life/