2020 – A year that will go down in history. The year that Bong Joon Ho wins the Oscar for directing Parasite. Oh yeah, and that pandemic thing too. We’ve all read enough about the dark side of that. Not my focus today.
The vast majority of us are either stuck at home per government restriction, personal choice or quarantine. And if your greatest burden is to simply get through the boredom, then that’s a pretty good problem to have right now!
Self-isolation doesn’t have to be a jail sentence. There’s plenty of things we should all be doing to take advantage of this unique situation.
Here’s a list of my top 5 that I hope each of us are doing.
1. Be a Creator
I finally finished watching LOST. On-demand TV is a guilty pleasure, like chocolate ice-cream. Do you really want to eat it every day? I guess some people do but… well, look at them. Reward yourself, yes – but reward yourself for a job well-done. Pick up an instrument and write a song. Get into the garage and hammer some nails into a board. Or simply write down your thoughts, your greatest memories. Maintain the goal of having more at the end of your creative session than what you started with. As I tell my son, it’s easy to destroy. It’s hard to create. Which will you be?
2. Grow Your Brain
We’ve all seen the advertisements for Masterclass. Holy crap is that solid marketing! But personal development can be as simple as reading that novel sitting on your bookshelf that you bought with the best intentions. Yes, we all have YouTube at our fingertips but that kind of passive learning is not going to cut it. What are you doing to challenge the way you think? “I’m happy with the way I think”, you say? Well you are boring, and wrong. Challenge yourself to be more than you currently are, and then pass judgement on your own reaction to opposing views.
3. Reach Out
When my father passed away earlier this year, there were a few things that touched me on a deeper level. I won’t elaborate, but I’ll say that your interactions with friends and family are finite. You can count them. With some people you may only have a few special moments left. I’m not talking about chat messages. I mean connecting with someone, via a phone call or hug or a laugh, discussing something important. Since we can’t meet everyone in person, for gods sake call your families, leave voice messages, maybe send a package with a letter. Moments of shared joy are fleeting.
4. Experience Nothingness
News can be hard to escape, often with no redeeming value. This leads to stress, anxiety and even depression. Close your eyes. What do you see? What do you hear? For me, I think of the 10 things I wanted to get done today. I see visualizations of my daily thoughts flash across the back of my eyelids. Noise, noise, noise. What if you could quiet your mind, and just “be” in the moment for 10 minutes a day. It would change your life. Practice meditation, as there are many excellent sources online to learn this skill. I say practice, because it is hard at first – but you will still feel positive effects. What have you got to lose besides 10 minutes of Instagram scroll time?
5. Do Things Differently
You know that funky outfit in the back of your closet? Put it on. Always wanted to cut off all your hair – now is your chance. Grow out that beard. With life disrupted, it’s time to switch things up. Move your bedroom to the dining room, and make the bedroom your art-space. Put up a tent somewhere inside and camp. Try something you would never do. If isolation is forcing us to be a little introspective, the least we can do is push our own boundaries a little and see where we become inspired and where we stop being comfortable. Maybe you will emerge from this cocoon as something new.
There’s many more of course. We can’t forget to maintain our physical health with exercise, to get sunlight on our faces, and get our hands dirty with a little garden planting. Don’t forget what it is to be human, and don’t squander the opportunity to take a step closer to your ideal.