Bored? So am I. Here are some suggestions.
My elderly neighbors, a lovely married couple, are making me feel like shit.
Every morning, for the past week, I’ve stood at my front window and watched them work on their lawn. Raking, shoveling, planting, sniping, pruning, mulching. A daily commitment to yardly beautification.
And across the street in my pajamas, coffee in hand, hair unkempt, I wonder what I will do with my quarantime today.
If you’re house is like mine (and if you’re reading this it probably is) you’re surrounded by computers and smart phones and smart TVs and electric toothbrushes– technology that thinks and does the heavy work for you.
These things are great when our day is crammed with commitments and our time* is, shall I say, limited. But now, gifted with seemingly more time and all the flashes of modernity– we are bored.
(*Quarantine time and nonquarantine time are still the same. There are still 24 hours in a day. Time hasn’t changed. But our perception of time has.)
Quarantime is teaching me how undisciplined I am.
For majority of my life, my day was organized by alarm clocks and school bells and dinner bells and a coach’s whistle. Now, the sounds that told me when to do things–are silent.
With the daily structure of “normal” life gone, I’m struggling to use my time accordingly. And since quarentime counts towards our earthy time, God or The Blue Oyster Cult or whoever is the head of Department of Mortality will not be extending our life by the months we served in quarantine.
I once read in a hearty book somewhere (feel free to deduct points for the vagueness and general laziness of my citation ), that the most fundamental philosophical question is, “How will I use my time?”
I crave for life to return to “normal.” Maybe you do too? And maybe this is because you and I don’t want to be held so accountable and responsible for our time.
We want a noisy system of bells and whistles to tell us when to do certain things. To alert us to get busy.
But what if we appreciated this time– without the bells and whistles? What if we used this time to do projects or create something we would otherwise put off?– I just don’t have the time.
My elderly neighbors are in different corners of the yard. The man genuflects and runs a hand across the earth. The woman, with a pair of snips, cut twigs from a small tree. My coffee is too cold for my liking. The kids are in the background yelling at the TV as the Xbox does its work.
How will we use our time today?
Being a creator, having an active mindset, is healthy for the psyche. No matter how big or small, creating something sparks feelings of power and stimulation. Two feelings we all need right now.
Here are 10 “Quarantine Creation” suggestions:
- Write a story or poem about a memory.
- Draw a picture then color it.
- Create space. Clean closets or that embarrassing Tupperware cabinet.
- Write letters or create birthday cards for important people in your life.
- Create a miniature golf course in your house.
- Create a your own exercise routine. And follow it.
- Make a gratitude jar.
- Using Spotify or Amazon Music, create a music play list. I’m working on a “Rock Rarities” playlist– deep tracks and b-side songs by classic rock artists.
- Build a bird house.
- Help my elderly neighbors with their yard work— actually no you can’t— because I already tried. They refused and said getting outside and working on the yard was good for them. It was also a way to avoid killing each other. So maybe you can create yardly beautification on your own patch of real estate.
We set limitations on ourselves. As if to say, “I’m quarantined and so is my imagination.” No wonder we feel helpless. And helplessness leads to sadness which leads to depression– a very real result of quarantine life.
How to Protect Your Mental Health During a Quarantine
But ultimately, we choose how we look at quarantime. We may not be able to control the global course of the Coronavirus, but we can control our attitude and perspective towards quarantime.
My neighbors are now standing at the curb facing their yard. It’s coming along. They have planted some new flowers and trimmed the trees in their yard. The man is pointing to the left corner of the yard. As a couple, they walk, rakes in hand, to where he was pointing. When they reach the pointed spot, they say something to each other and rake the earth.
Without any alarms or bells, I turn from the window, walk to the sink, dump the cold coffee down the drain, clean out the mug, put the mug in the drain board, walk to the table, open my laptop and start writing this post.
I feel less shitty already.
How have you been handling quarantine? Have you’ve been able to create something? If so, what have you created?
PS- Another “Quarantine Creation” is that you could create a Youtube series. My former student created “Isolation Eats” to help people in the restaurant industry who lost their jobs. Check it out!
PSS– Even the suburban squirrels are bored.
Looking ahead– I’m working on creating April’s Forgiveness Journey post. It will be posted this Thursday. Quarantine is mentally difficult and having real negative mental affects on people. In this post, I will explore how forgiveness can help us through quarantine.
Need some encouragement? Some perspective? This hardworking, suburban soccer dad with fancy hair can help. Subscribe and, like a pizza, get my posts delivered to your door ( your email inbox). No spam. Just posts.