Social Anxiety

I don’t get out socially very often. As a seventy-three-year-old widow, having endured many years of caregiving and two years of Covid, socializing has become a skill long forgotten. I am working on that and trying to re-engage, but it isn’t easy.

When I read about the recent tragedies in California in which many people were killed, I was dismayed. What struck me most, though, was the realization that among them were older people dancing to celebrate the lunar new year.

That could have been me. I wasn’t in California, and I wasn’t celebrating the lunar new year, but I had summoned my resolve, got dressed up, put on make up, and forced myself out of the house to attend an annual party with people a lot like me.

Social anxiety is new to me, but it has hit me hard. I agonize for hours about leaving the house even to go and get groceries. Sometimes necessity forces me to put my shoes on and go, and other times it is a matter of determination over misgivings. I must override my doubts and focus on the mundane details of going outside and getting things done. I mind, but that doesn’t matter.

In December I convinced myself that I should, could, and would join my new friends at a holiday party for newcomers to Nanaimo. I agonized over what to wear, how to get there, when to arrive, what would happen when I got there, and a million other details. It turned out, as you might expect, to be an easy journey and a welcoming arrival. I found a table to sit at with people I had met previously, and we got to know each other a little better as the evening progressed. When the music started, some of us got up and danced, laughed, and let ourselves go a little.

Now I wonder about those people in California. Were some of them getting out for the first time in years? Were they just then learning to socialize again? Was this the only time this year when they had danced?

I don’t know what motivated the person who killed eleven people and injured nine others in the Star Ballroom in Monterey Park, California, and frankly I don’t care. I only care about the people who were there, dancing and socializing, for an annual celebration. Some of them will never be able to celebrate again, even those who lived through it.


  1. So much to ponder here. I live in the United States, and I think we’re out of control with guns. It makes the old wild west days look tame. And yes, who could imagine those folks in Monterey were clebrating their last time that night? And more violence since this incident. II am impressed you are facing your social anxiety and getting out anyway. I hope your social anxiety eventually diminishes with these successful forays you are making. Keep us posted!

    1. I agree with you about the gun issue, but as a Canadian I try to stay out of the debate. I just hope common sense will prevail eventually.

      Thank you for your kind words. I will keep you posted. 🙂

  2. I am so impressed with your courage to, despite your misgivings, push through and do it anyway. I’m hoping there are rewards, comforts and joy when you do summons up the courage to “just do it already”. I hope you, and everyone in your shoes, continue to LIVE and to not allow the deranged people to control us or limit our social lives with added fear. I hope you continue to dance and laugh and embrace the fun.

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