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What Have You Been Learning Since Being Quarantined?

I’ve found a bright spot in the mandate to stay home: Living under quarantine rule lights a fire under me to learn new things. As example, since I am currently in a State where wine delivery is a felony, I am learning the art of wine making. It’s surprisingly easy, and I’m really enjoying learning the art, while eagerly awaiting the spoils….

I’ve also been learning a lot about hydroponic gardening, especially since I am now a basement gardener growing a plethora of herbs –dill, basil, chives, rosemary, oregano, garlic, and some new greens I had never heard of prior to the Coronavirus pandemic. Tomatoes, potatoes, and green peppers are the next to be planted. There’s a future in planting, which means I assume to be around to eat when the harvest is ripe.

I’m reading more, and that “get to it some day” pile of books at the side of my bed is actually starting to look like it may need to be replenished. My knitting has improved too, and I’ve learned how to make a gorgeous blanket using my arms as knitting needles. Also, I’ve learned how to thread my eyebrows instead of waxing and plucking; and then I learned how to fill in the blanks when I thread too much….

Something of importance that I’ve learned is how to make a face mask using a scrap of fabric, a bread bag wire tie as a nose piece, a coffee filter, and a couple of thin pieces of stretchy elastic for the ear attachments. The masks are not for high-risk, front-lines medical personnel, as they are not nearly enough filtration to prevent a sneaky virus from infiltrating, but as a fashion accessory to wear while grocery shopping and attending to other essential business in a world plagued by COVID-19, they lend a tiny tinge of security, however false that security may ultimately turn out to be.

I’ve learned the actual color of my hair, which is getting grayer, longer, and wavier every day. I do admit to having taken the scissors to it, mainly (or should I say manely…), because it is getting too tough to handle; it seems to be on the verge of full-on dreadlocks more and more each day. Twice, I have trimmed a few inches off the bottom, the results of the trims being more like fertilizer than a solution to a problem. I played a trick on my family: Heavily greasing down my damaged, dry locks in an attempt to condition them, and winding the greased tresses into a snake around my head, and then covering it with first a plastic bag, and then with a cute knit ski cap, I plotted. I knew that when my family saw me in the cap, everyone would think I had shaved my head (I’d been threatening to do so for days). My youngest grandchild had shaved the day before, and I knew the hat would lead to them jumping to conclusions…. I giggled all the way up the stairs in anticipation of their collective horror, and I wasn’t disappointed. I’m still giggling at the response, at the bug-eyed horror on their collective faces when they saw me! They just knew I had shaved my head. (For reference, my hair hangs nearly to my waist.) I’ve learned the importance of humor and the beauty of giggles, music I hope to hear for a long time.

I’ve learned a lot about decorating and organizing and clearing unused and unloved items following first a flood in December, and then an earthquake in March, with Coronavirus frosting them both with far too much thickness to swallow. My small space is mostly free of anything that isn’t of value. And of course, everything and each inch has been cleaned and re-cleaned in an attempt to dissuade any viruses from even thinking about settling into my personal space. I learned that cleaning is something I do as a nervous outlet. And somehow, there is still much that can be wiped or thrown away, discarded with the irrelevance that comes of right priorities.

Mostly, I’ve learned some new strengths that I never thought I would have to discover. In fact, the inner strength that has shown its face in my mirror is nothing I could have imagined. There are times like that in life, when you discover a depth of strength that seems almost like a foreign body, an entity taking over and getting you through whatever it is you’re going thru. This is one of those times. I’m guessing there are stages, such as the stages of grief that we are all passing through, surviving the tsunami of deaths and disease and the constant barrage of deadly and fear-filled statistics coming at us with the subtle finesse of a fire-hose blast from a well-intentioned media.

I’ve learned to turn off the television when politicians lie, or really, anytime a politician comes onto the screen. Except for Andrew Cuomo; I have an entirely new perspective, reverence almost, certainly respect for Governor Cuomo. In truth, I think I have a little crush…. Anyway, Cuomo being the exception, I’ve learned how little trust I have in the government to do anything of much use. And I’ve learned that I have become more cynical with age, perhaps rightly so. I make no apologies for my cynicism at this juncture. I’ve learned that as I age, I have little need for apologizing for who I am.

So, I ask you, what have you been learning since being quarantined?

  • Have you picked up any new hobbies?
  • Have you found yourself mesmerized by media?
  • Are you personally affected by loss due to the Coronavirus?
  • Have you learned to fact check everything you hear or read?
  • Have you learned more about who you are?

We are all living a new, hopefully temporary, normal that calls for us to consciously live in the moment while breathing through the very tough challenges that come with loss, and with fear of the unknown.  When we look at the things we cannot predict, that we cannot control, and at that which we have zero power over, we are left with the realization that we may as well find a new task to master. Because if we survive these trying times, we’ll have stories and new talents to share. For now, it’s best to simply live, perhaps in the light of the Serenity Prayer.

Much love to you.

Jan

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