Wendy Priesnitz - writer, editor, changemaker
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Not Just Passing Time

Not Just Passing Time, But Living With Covid-19

During this era of Covid-19, social media is proving to be invaluable for many of us. It has numerous purposes, including keeping in touch with the friends and family from whom we’re distancing, and sharing ideas, inspiration, humor, even our worries and other big emotions.

One of the things I see people sharing is ways to pass the time or to help children stay occupied. Some are plain fun (so important in times of stress like these). Others involve learning something new, taking up a new hobby, or catching up on household tasks that fell through the cracks in busy lives. Still others, however, seem like busy work designed solely to while away the hours, days, and maybe, as some are predicting, months. Boredom reducers you might say.

Sometimes, idling away the hours is just what we need – or, in fact, all we have strength for. However, this morning, as I found myself mindlessly refreshing my social media feeds over and over, I realized that’s not how I wanted to spend the rest of a sunny, albeit cold, Sunday in late March, let alone the next weeks and months.

I’m an introvert who has worked from home for 46 years, have helped two school-free kids learn based at home, and have occasionally been home-bound due to health issues. So I know how to motivate myself while being in isolation. (In the past few years, I’ve also had to learn how to moderate my productivity urge and feel satisfied with doing less. But that’s a story for another time.) I also know that there is an often-difficult adjustment period while we transition from a life lived in public to one cloistered at home alone or with just a few others. There are new feelings to feel, new habits to build, new challenges to meet, and old perspectives to set aside.

But there’s something different about right now, and there is an extra layer of emotions. This is a challenging time of uncertainty, of anxiety, of fear for our health or that of loved ones, and, for some of us, of concern or even despair about finances, either short- or long-term. And, of course, for some of us, staying at home right now is not voluntary.

Nevertheless, here we are. And may I suggest that the best way to pass time is to keep living, to keep being? It might help to recognize that each of us is a crucial part of a community made up of everyone working together to prevent the further spread of the corona virus; that would help reduce the urge to “cheat” and thereby undermine the work we have done by staying home. Then, we can use the pause to recalibrate ourselves, our lives, and the way we’ve structured the world. That could look like paying undivided attention to a child or a partner (you can do it, at least for a little while, no matter how hectic things seem). It might mean creating or reviving a meditation or exercise practice, learning to cook, working to build our courage muscles, or getting more sleep. It could mean planting a vegetable garden to ensure at least a bit of food over the coming months (which I highly recommend and will be writing about in the next few days). Or we could plan a new way of making a living, or explore ways to simplify life, or…..

So, let’s not think in terms of passing some time until things get better or the virus goes away so we can get on with life. This is life, for better or worse. Let’s continue to live it.

Note: In this post, I’m not addressing the needs of those forced to stay at home with abusers or others who create toxic environments. I see their pain and hope their communities can provide them with the needed love and assistance.

Wendy Priesnitz

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Beyond School by Wendy Priesnitz    Natural Life's Green and Healthy Homes by Wendy Priesnitz    It Hasn't Shut Me Up by Wendy Priesnitz    Challenging Assumptions in Education by Wendy Priesnitz    Life Learning by Wendy Priesnitz