01 June 20XX
My Dear Lucilius:
You asked me in your last missive about others: Had I heard from them, what was their reaction then – and now.
My move, of course, created the sort of stir you can imagine for anyone of my age: there were those who thought I was crazy or “was going on an actual extended hermitage” (actual quote), there were those who could not believe I had decided to give up urban city life for some unknown wilderness (“But the coffee bars? The Nightlife?”), and there were were a precious few that simply stuck to congratulating me for being able to do the very thing that they, in some for or fashion, had dreamed doing as well.
Over time, of course, the whole circle has greatly contracted as I am no longer local for a great many activities and thus slipped from a great many people's minds. And, to be fair, I had become actively reclusive, not following up on and involving myself in most activities I had been participating in before hand. The break had to be complete.
Why this reclusiveness, you might ask? Simply put, involvement in so many ways has become a liability over the years. Who you know, what you “like”, and what you do have no longer become diverse interests to follow and be amazed at but rather things to be weaponized against the others. If you support something your are “X” - but if you fail to support something else, you are also “X” (honestly, it seems, by people who did little to support their own basic needs but expected – by buying power or charity – for others to do so). If I had ever sent Christmas Cards (Mrs. Seneca always handled that), they would have dwindled to a trickle (sad, as they make excellent kindling come January).
But somewhat of note is last year – what with the economy I can only guess – I have had people suddenly start “reaching out” (a term I detest, by the way: it is not as if they are physical touching me), wondering what and how I was doing. One or two wanted to actually just “drop by” for a week or two. Fortunately I am not very diligent about checking those lines of communication so I can always state “Apologies, I received this too late”.
Strangely enough, many of the most desperate needs to “see me” come from those whose political or philosophical or theological philosophies were the most different from my own. These are always the most poignant to me - “I know we have disagreed strongly in the past but….”
The storm, when it comes, rips up all trees without preference.
Your Obedient Servant, Seneca