This is not going to be my usual Sunday Coffee post, because these are not usual times. I have been wrestling for the past week with what to do with this little space. Would it be tacky to continue writing blog posts with everything going on in the world?
After much thought and discussion, I'm going to keep writing, as more and more people find themselves social distancing, or even quarantined, I think feeling connected is more important than ever. How lucky we are to live in a time when we can still find community through the internet, even when we may not be able to join it in person.
My husband is a Science teacher and has been trying to mentally prepare me that this would happen since the first outbreak in Wuhan. I have to admit that I didn't fully believe him. We are both social creatures, we meet up with friends several times a week and love to host gatherings. We love to go out in the city to dine and shop. It feels all feels so strange. So I hope that you see this, not as me ignoring what's happening in our world, but continuing to connect with the community here. Here are 5 things to do while you are social distancing.
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1. Keep a journal
I'm a history teacher (I'm not sure I've ever told you my "real" job, but hey we're getting real around here), and I saw a historian mention this idea on Twitter. I spend a substantial amount of time reading letters and diaries from the past. This is going to be an event looked upon, and when all is said and done, the only way that the experiences of everyday people get left to posterity is if we leave them. I know we post on social media (and blogs), but I implore you to take an actual pen and paper and write each day. Our digital diaries just don't have the same lasting power right now. As an example after 9/11 many people started blogs and online journals to detail their experiences. Those sites are now gone, and with it their memories. Spend 20 minutes each day writing down what you're really feeling, what you're observing, what you're hearing. When all is said and done it may be something future generations in your family will be glad to look back on (think a great grand niece you never meet that comes across it researching her family). You can also donate your diaries! I teach a women's history course, and women's diaries are why we know what they were doing in history, and what life was like in the day to day. One of my favorite historians, Laurel Thatcher Ulrich wrote, "Well behaved women seldom make history." It's a quote that gets taken out of context and has nothing to do with emulating Marilyn Monroe. Rather, it's that the everyday women going about their lives doing what they are supposed to do don't make the history books- unless they write it down. So a great use of your time for the next few weeks (man or woman) is to take some time and keep a journal. You'd be surprised what emotions you find with just you, a pen, and paper.
As a New Englander, I'm no stranger to being housebound. We often get snowed in for a few days at a time. Unlike Winter where it's tough to physically go outside, I plan on getting some fresh air and walking whenever I can (and when it's safe to do so for others). I'm also not the biggest fan of working out at home, but again when snowed in I have found ways. A few workout at home options I love are Jillian Michael's workouts and Ompractice. I used to have her DVDs but I now stream them through Prime. I have access to Ompractice through my health insurance, but even if you have to pay (which you can do by the year, month, or class) it's very affordable. It's a live Yoga class. You actually connect in through video (I use my phone) and you can see the teacher and hear them, and they can see you (though they turn your sound off which is great in case there's a crying baby or goofy husband in the background). You don't see the other people in the class (except at the beginning for a quick hi) so it's like you're getting a private Yoga lesson. I like this option because if I just do a video off of YouTube and something else comes up, I'll stop the class. Because this is a real live class, I'm committed to finishing it. Of course YouTube has no shortage of workout videos and Yoga classes for free, so check that out too. This would be a great time to try a new class!
3. Cook or bake
One thing I enjoy about cooking is that I get lost in it. Whatever else is going on in the world, I'm focused on having all of these moving pieces come together. When you work full time, cooking dinner (even if you love cooking) becomes a chore because you have to rush home and get something on the table, there's not a lot of room for creativity. So if you've been feeling anxious about everything going on, this would be a great time to get into the kitchen and experiment or just cook those things that you never have time for (beef bourginon, all day Sunday sauce, you get the idea). I plan on taking a crack at Croissants again since they are so labor intensive. I'm also going to be making this bread. It's only 5 pantry staple ingredients, so I don't have to brave the super market if we run out.
4. start a hobby or learn something new
Have you always wanted to learn something or haven't had the time? Do you have a bunch of equipment, or a musical instrument that you purchased thinking you would learn photography, or the ukulele or how to speak French (No? Just me?)? Now you finally have the time! Take advantage of this pause in your normal busy schedule and use it to do something you've always said you would "if you just had the time." Do it. Do it now.
5. home improvement
My husband and I have been living in our house for a few years, and in all honesty we've never "gotten it together" to organize all the rooms and finish a lot of projects. Now I'm not saying we're going to get everything done, but we've made a plan to make a dent in things. I'm always saying "my house would be organized if I could just take a week off with no commitments and focus on it" well, here it is, a week with no other commitments. I'm also going to tackle a few DIY projects I've had on my mind, as long as I can still access the materials. Even if it's just organizing your junk drawer, this is a great time to check some of those things off that we never get to.
I hope you don't see this as me trying to make light of the world right now, I'm just trying to put a positive spin on things. There aren't too many times in life where the world takes pause and forces you to slow down, and maybe when all is said and done, we did need that shake up as humanity. We've gotten so used to our fast paced, must do this now, work/school is the most important thing, that we've forgotten the significant of what's within our four walls.
I do acknowledge that I am in a privileged position. We have a house that is warm, we have food and means to get it, and my job is not one that relies on patronage of others. I don't have children that I need to find care for while I work, and am a relatively healthy person. I know there are many people right now who cannot think about the five things I mentioned because they are worried about their small business, their next paycheck, childcare, accessing necessities, and avoiding a virus that could kill them. I hope my posts the next few weeks come across the right way, as a little distraction and community in an otherwise chaotic and crazy world. I've always been a glass half full person and I'm going to try to keep that mentality. Thank you dear readers for continuing to be a wonderful community to turn to again and again. If you have something to add to this list, please share!