The Gift of Time

A few weeks ago, when it became apparent that I’d be self-isolating, self-quarantining, social distancing or whatever it’s being called in this particular news cycle, I realized that maybe the struggles of the previous year had been a training ground. The Social Butterfly who used to proudly double book herself had learned the value of a cocoon.

2019 was a humbling year for me. I was confronted multiple times with questions about who I want to be in the world and what I want to do with my life and what I actually value. Yeah, heavy shit. And most of that time I was unemployed. I was also really fortunate that the golden parachute gave me a gentle landing that allowed me the opportunity to play in several sandboxes – including that of successful small business owner.

But Global Pandemic, yeah? Yeah. A global pandemic.

Now that I’ve gone back into the Corporate World and am trying to unlearn my feral ways and get back into a routine, the entire world is thrown into a global pandemic and while this is affecting each of us differently, there’s definitely some commonalities as well. A lot of what I see on social media is this divide between those who are “bored”, those who seem “content” and those who just don’t know what to do with themselves. All I can say from here on out is Your Mileage May Vary (YMMV).

I have become one of Those People. The ones who wake at 5 AM and do yoga, juggle laundry and conference calls in a single bound and finally dusted off the guitar. I’ve discovered that right now, I’ve got this great balance on the Wheel of Life, and I want to make sure that I’m building something sustainable. If not, burnout is sure to sneak up later.

Maybe it’s none of those things for you. But I guess the point is…find the thing or things. Use this time to try something completely new.

I’ve spent a lot of time watching YouTube videos for new gardeners and thinking about ways to incorporate Square Foot Gardening principles into our raised beds. This is only my third growing season and I still have a lot to learn. We’ve got plans to add on hail protection and some drop-down screens to the garden beds. We’ve expanded the flower beds and decided on plans for a compost bin.

We invested in a good chainsaw so we can finally restock the wood pile with the shedding cottonwood. Each season I get a little more done in the front of the house, but it’s still a definite work in progress. I’ve had time to do some research into xeric landscaping to gather more ideas.

I spent a week learning more about how to create, define and refresh my own ‘style’. I’m not particularly great with pairing things in my wardrobe but I participated in Stylish Sparrow’s week long Facebook event where I learned about applying the concept of base layers to what I wear at home. And while I, like so many others, only seem like we pay attention from the waist up these days, it’s important to remember that at some point these restrictions will lift and we’ll go out into the world again. Why not learn some tips to make you feel more confident and shave more time off your routine? Gah, the simple concept of BASE LAYERS has been mind boggling for me.

I’m trying new recipes. I’m also refreshing my canning and preserving knowledge since it’s been a decade since I’ve really done any of that in earnest.

Volunteering. You can still do that in a pandemic. If anything it’s needed more now than ever. Check out Catchafire for project ideas or maybe just call your local Food Bank to see how you can help with fundraising or resource database refresh projects they may have.

If you’re inclined to read, there are plenty of independent authors who would appreciate honest reviews of their work. Others where organizations will gift you books in exchange for a review. Libraries are free to join and have large online catalogs available as well.

Need some other ideas:

Play a game. A board game. A card game. A video game with your kids. Play fetch with your dog. If you don’t have one, pretend you do and fetch it yourself. If you’re like me, you can use the exercise too.

Clean your windows. Yeah, I know I can fuck right off but you’ll thank me in a month or two.

Finally throw away your unmatched socks and the unmentionables with holes. If your mother would chide you for an ER nurse seeing you in them; toss them.

Speaking of which, THANK AN ESSENTIAL WORKER. Not in person, of course. Leave a note in chalk on your sidewalk or make a sign for your window. Say hi to your neighbors from across the way – don’t congregate under windows. You know who you are.

If you have extras and can do so safely, drop off items in a food pantry box in your local neighborhood.

Dust your ceiling fans. If you don’t have ceiling fans, dust your moldings. In fact, dust those anyway.

Make slime.

Support your favorite local restaurants by ordering takeout.

Check those automated subscriptions and cancel duplicated services.

Bake a loaf of bread. Yeah, from scratch.

As my friend Bre might suggest, DANCE. #ImmunityDance

Register for and take a class at Coursera

Start to learn a new language

Start with 1 pushup a day and add 1 more each time. Til? I don’t know, til you stop bitching about your arms

Floss. Your dentist will thank you.

Life isn’t what is used to be but it doesn’t mean it’s all terrible either.