There have been many times throughout my life when I have felt left behind.  Mostly by friends at one time or the other, either they went off to a different college than me or got a job and made new friends and there I was just still hanging around doing whatever. Sometimes I’ve felt left behind because I just don’t have the same interests as anyone I know.  I can’t relate to people who don’t think deeply about politics, religions of the world and the birds in their backyard.

You would think I’d feel comfortable with being left behind. But now here I am finding myself left behind again. And I feel like more of an outcast than I ever have before.

It seems like everyone I know and everyone I don’t know has weighed their options and decided it’s more prudent to go about their everyday lives than to stay hunkered down. The governor opened the state, and I feel like everyone said, “Let’s go wild, ya’ll.”

I’ve read a lot of articles where doctors have said to keep keeping your distance. Keep wearing your face masks. Don’t get close to grandparents. The coronavirus hasn’t magically disappeared, yet a lot of people seem to be letting their guards down.

I feel like I am missing out on so much, but I’ve always been a stickler for the rules that makes sense to me and to me it doesn’t make sense to rush out an act like nothing is going on when I have gone through so much trouble the last few months trying to do my part in keeping people safe. It feels like from the start of this everything has been in two week incrememnts… we’ll see what’s going on in two weeks … let’s just wait two weeks and see what happens. And nothing good happened, except that our hospitals didn’t get as overrun as I predicted before the state got smart and shut everything down. But now, it’s all down to personal responsibility to keep things under control until a vaccine arrives.

So I have to keep doing what I am comfortable with and try not to worry about whether or not people think I am being weird or ridiculous. I’m just thankful that I have the option to be ridiculous right now.

I have made two outings in public in the past two or three months — I can no longer track time — to the outdoor garden part of Home Depot. I wore a mask. I felt silly and I could not breath. Last week I had terrible body aches and I got a sore throat. Michael took my temperature and it was 99. Tears welled up in my eyes when I looked at the thermometer and handed my baby over to Michael, certain that Covid-19 had got me at last.

Michael said, “It’s going to be really funny if you end up getting this.”

I said, “I think it will be the opposite of funny.”

He said, “I just mean because you have been so careful.”

After dinner, my temperature was back down to 97.9 and I think my body aches have to do with other health issues because I’ve had them before. And I was glad to have my carefulness acknowledged.  But for that split second when I thought I might have been sick just because I had to go out to the garden center and get me some topsoil, I was pretty upset.

Anyway, if you’re like me and still being cautious about everything, don’t let it get you down. I know it’s hard to see that a lot of other people are out doing fun things with friends and family right now. But do what makes you the least anxious, because I figure the less anxiety one has during a pandemic the better.



Danielle Wallingsford Kirkland is a former Sentinel staff writer and correspondent. She can be reached at

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