how to … do this thing

Fast on the heels of the shelter in place orders came the “how-to” articles – not that anyone’s been through a global pandemic before, but there seems to be plenty of advice regardless. Perhaps one of the most insidious seeming strains is the “new normal” type, implying that one should instantaneously switch gears to a new mode of working, and be as productive, if not MORE productive than before. As this article asks, “Why are we being told—by bosses, by fitness apps, by ourselves—to optimize this “new” time to get things done?”

Then there’s the “here’s what other people did when THEY were in quarantine” (but no pressure.) As if we were all given a chunk of completely free time with nothing to worry about in which to get our side hustle off the ground, start that fitness program, learn a language or musical instrument or other skill we’ve been wanting to develop, do home improvement projects, cook, bake, read books, fill-in-the-blank – be brilliant! “What did YOU do during YOUR shelter in place?”

Sure, some people do have some/more “free” time, and some people will get to some of those things on their List. But there’s a lot more going on than, “Hey!!! Free time for self improvement!” For crissakes, it’s a pandemic, not a vacation. And some of us ARE still going to our day jobs – with distancing and sanitizing, but as usual-ish.

So I try to limit my reading of the “how-to/what-to-dos” but I have to admit I do get sucked in. I guess that desire for some sort of certainty, something to follow… yeah, I know, I should be spending that time on one of those things on my List! Ha!

Anyway, if nothing else, I have found out about TOTWAFFLES! (when you get there click Show this thread to get the full, splendid story.) Which, not having tots in my freezer, I have not made yet, but it did inspire me to waffle some corn bread that I had made. (Yes, I’m doing some of the baking thing.)

And a friend posted this daily checklist, which, the more I looked at it, I realized is solid for any time, not just our current situation. Another version I saw added, “Do one thing just because you want to,” and “Get in at least one good laugh.”

Likewise, a couple of the articles I read had what seemed like good tips that were also not just coronavirus time specific (despite the title of the first article): List of Personal Things You Can Do to Stay Well in a Time of COVID-19, which covered both physical and mental health ideas, and the second, Self-Love in a Time of Skin Hunger, tackles some of the issues for those in solitary situations during the Shelter in Place orders.

Although it is a common circumstance, we each have a unique situation and are all experiencing this in different ways. For some, previous life experiences may have inadvertently prepared them to weather this better. I hadn’t thought about travelling being good training for staying home, but this author made some good points to that. And maybe somewhat ironic, due to the virus occurrence and impact on the cruise industry, but taking some tips from yacht chefs might help with making your food last longer and/or be used with less waste.

Then, for some, the current situation isn’t much of a change at all. I thoroughly enjoyed this article about Billy Barr (and definitely on board with his #3 and #4 tips), who has been the sole full-time resident of Gothic, CO for nearly fifty years. At 10,000 feet elevation, there are stretches of winter where he doesn’t see anyone else. And I’m sure he’s not the only person with a solitary life style.

And, of course, as an introvert, it’s hard not to be a bit smug – FINALLY, something in our wheelhouse. But not too smug. I do realize for those who are used to going out and peopling more, and those who eat out much of the time, these are some big adjustments. Even for me, I miss (some of) the interactions at work, and really miss going to the print shop, and terribly miss my manfriend, who is the SIP poster child at his place up in the woods. And those misses are being compounded by the uncertainty of not having a specific date to look forward to when they will happen again. Wah! OK, embrace the grumpy. Breathe in. Breathe out. Embrace the now.

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