Don’t get me wrong, it’s not that I am anti-social…

The COVID bubble begins to burst!

Don’t get me wrong, I’m not anti-social or anything, but perversely I am sad that the restrictions for COVID19 are being lifted. I have been enjoying my State-sanctioned semi-solitude. I had a perfect mix of interactions with others and being allowed to retreat all worked out.

It’s a selfish stand, I know because I wasn’t all that disadvantaged by them.   I kept working through the whole time, was able to get out and exercise and had a steady stream of activities to keep me occupied. I was not affected by the great toilet paper shortage or scarcity of other items due to some uncanny coincidental forward planning. I didn’t have kids to home school.  I didn’t get sick. I had already planned a low key year. I did miss seeing my grandson and daughter, and that’s about it. One other big regret was not being able to attend my good friend’s funeral at the end of April.

At work, I was able to be proactive and not reactive. Every item on my daily to-do list was crossed off, and I left at a reasonable time. I didn’t have students to discipline. The parents I did talk to were appreciative and not berating me for dealing with their children.

IMG_5095 2
Plenty of iso-baking happened at my place!

Don’t get me wrong I’m not anti-social but with most of the teachers working from home, the constant stream of interruptions to solve other peoples’ problems dwindled to next to nothing. They return en masse this Monday, bringing their problems with them. (11/5/20)

A  rumbling low-level of anxiety is beginning to penetrate my calm as the invitations to “catch up now that we can” are starting. It’s not that I went out partying every weekend anyway but having to stay at home, HAVING to be cocooned because I was told to, gave me a legitimate reason to stay quiet and at peace.

Don’t get me wrong; it’s not that I don’t want to see people, but this time to be slow, deliberate and self-sufficient was tantalisingly comforting. The bluer than blue skies have already started to brown over as more and more people are going about their business.

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Bluer than blue!

Don’t get me wrong, I’m not anti-social, but I have discovered that I am also not pro-social either. When I am with people, I feel on guard. Will I say something stupid? Will I accidentally offend someone? Does my hair look alright? What will they think of me? The internal monologue never ends. Sometimes it’s so noisy I forget to listen to the person in front of me. That voice has been so quiet these last two months. I guess it proves that even though I am friendly, loud, bossy, speak in front of a large crowd etc I am in essence a socially awkward introvert.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m not anti-social, but I could live in this bubble forever… I think…  As long as the bubble had a door. It might be different if I didn’t have the option to leave when I wanted.

Don’t get me wrong, it’s not that I am antisocial, but I might re-gig my world a little so I can keep the calm for longer. Please don’t be offended.

 

….and Mum! Don’t worry, I am OK!! 🙂

 

To-do list or ta-da list?

A to-do list is helpful, right?

Have you got a really long to-do list of all the things you should be doing in this Age of Corona? Now you are not commuting every day because you’re working from home or your place of work has closed down, you’ve got heaps more time! Right? You might have more time because you are not going out to the movies or drinks with friends and EVERYTHING in your calendar has been cancelled? Right? You should be using this time productively, right?

Empty Calendar
No events! The P&C meeting was cancelled too!

Is this to-do list making you feel guilty as you sit in front of the TV and watch one more episode of the latest binge-worthy show? Just one more and THEN I‘ll go to bed! Promise!

I started off ISO with this big to-do list. It ran to three A5 pages. I wrote it before the lockdown started in an effort to avoid getting to the end of this and thinking “oh darn that’s right! I should have done….XYZ.” XYZ being whatever the really important thing that I could have been doing but didn’t get done! I also have to keep in mind my overarching year-long plan – the Year of Zero.

The list became a yoke across my shoulders. A burden to bear. One that didn’t allow for the contingencies and emergencies of daily life. It didn’t allow for the weather. It didn’t allow for my mood.

From to-do to ta-da!

So I put that list aside for reference and created a new one. I have simplified and broadened it considerably. Now my list has only four things on it. It is flexible, adaptable and infinitely adjustable.

Here is my daily to-do list:

  1. Learn something.
  2. Create something.
  3. Organise something.
  4. Move everything! (as in exercise)

So for instance today,

  1. What did I learn? I watched a lecture about sustainability and learnt that if we returned to a 1970’s level of consumption (of goods and energy), we could work 80% less.  The 1970s wasn’t too bad, we just didn’t have as much STUFF. The lecture does not suggest we return to 1970s technology (or fashion!) just the level of stuff we accumulate. It’s the first of 12 in a series from The Great Courses which I accessed for free through Kanopy. Kanopy is a video streaming service which I get for free with my library membership. Lots of public libraries offer it. Check to see if yours does.
  2. What did I create? Well, this post for my Sunday Post series for a start! I also finished off some of the tea cosies I started the other day.
  3. What did I organise? I am working on a document called “Death Admin” which has information for my family if/when I die. This was triggered by a podcast  (The Pineapple Project) I listened to recently.  I am getting together the information and documents I need for that.
  4. Did I move? Yes! Before breakfast, I did a 30-minute online exercise class which has been provided by my (closed) gym. Later today I will do a Zoom session with my sister, the personal trainer. While I was watching the lecture in Point 1 above I stood up and stepped from side to side and did squats and all sorts of in-place moves so I wasn’t sitting on my bum for another 30 minutes!

My to-do list is now a ta-da list! I can shrink or expand the items to suit the day, the mood and the life that gets in the way!

Smoke and mirrors maybe, but it’s making a difference to how I feel!

Corona Zeitgeist?

Does the Age of Corona signal a time for the zeitgeist to shift? Zeitgeist, there’s a word I don’t think I have used in a real sentence before. It is defined by the interwebs as:

the defining spirit or mood of a particular period of history as shown by the ideas and beliefs of the time.
“the story captured the zeitgeist of the late 1960s”

If you have been trawling the “socials” more closely than usual you will have seen things shift over the last month. There has been a real change in tone.

At first, it was “What’s the fuss?”

Followed quickly by “Hang-on perhaps this is more than the flu.”

Followed by there being no toilet paper in the shops. Or rice or pasta or dried milk powder. All the things you need to hunker down and isolate. My post in January about Disaster Prepping now seems apocryphal.

Once everyone was in lock down the funny new lyrics to classic songs started. Some good, some bad and some very professional. Plans for the “recovery” are starting to emerge now that China and Italy are beginning to lift their restrictions.  The memes changed to “what will be the first thing you’ll do when we get back to normal?”

What’s the rush to get back to normal? Normal was killing our planet. It was killing us.

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From Facebook: March Australia

Opportunity for Change

The latest trend has been memes of the earth sighing and enjoying a break. This is the shift in zeitgeist I am talking about. Just as I was formulating in my own mind a desire to not return to “normal” but a “better new normal”, I have been seeing more and more posts calling for the same shift. I don’t think Facebook has developed mind-reading yet, it would seem I was very much not alone in my thought patterns.

This article is an example. It outlines how we should be prepared to be gaslighted by corporations as they try to catch up on all the missed revenue. To return to our old habits of spending money on things we don’t need.  While you have been in isolation, you have probably been busy Kondo-ing your physical possessions, consider Kondo-ing your whole life. Be deliberate and thoughtful about the things you bring back. Take this chance to recreate your life.

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Facebook post from Dana Dimi

I think we can use this Corona-induced “Big Pause” as a time to reorder our personal economic circumstances and have an impact on the world’s economy. Yes, it will be painful. Yes, people will lose their jobs, some businesses will go bust. Others will rise in their place.  We probably won’t ever get an opportunity to hit the reset button again.

Those of us who are privileged enough to make the choice to consume or not consume can have the most impact. Do you need 50 white t-shirts? Does your phone really need upgrading? Should we pay scientists more and celebrities less?

Make some choices!

Become hyper-local when you consume. Rather than returning to the large multinational corporation for your quick meal, support a local take away shop or small restaurant. Pay a bit more for locally sourced milk. Buy from the source. I’ve discovered a beekeeper who lives (literally) around the corner.  It makes me smile to think the honey on my toast may have come from my own flowers.

Travel locally, keep the sky blue! Have you noticed how blue the sky is? No planes, less traffic, less photo-chemical smog.

Think about a barter economy. What can you do that you can swap with others? Time? Unwanted goods? Services? Mow someone’s lawn in exchange for a home-cooked meal?

Grow some of your own food. Keep making bread from scratch. Share it.

Continue to work from home. (The kids will eventually go back to school.) Convince your boss that you don’t need to be in the office every day. It will save them money too.

Let’s use this devastating global event as a catalyst for positive change. Let’s not waste the chance.

EDITED TO ADD
Another one from today:

https://www.facebook.com/yongootieno.wycliffe/posts/2587443628133872


STAY CALM, STAY AT HOME AND WASH YOUR HANDS!

36 Impacts of the Coronavirus on My Life.

The Coronavirus continues to have serious impacts on our world.  Personally, I am counting my chickens! It has had a significant impact on my life already:

  1. I haven’t been able to see my best buddy, my little Grandson for 4 weeks.
  2. I haven’t met any of my friends for 3 weeks, except the ones who also happen to be co-workers.
  3. I haven’t been able to go to the gym.
  4. I haven’t been able to buy toilet paper,
  5. I haven’t been able to teach my class.
  6. There have been no students at my school. However, as a member of the School’s Senior Executive, I have been attending every day.
  7. My regular Monday meeting and training night for the group I volunteer for is cancelled.
  8. Every event in my calendar has been cancelled.
  9. I won’t be travelling anywhere these school holidays. ( hang on I wasn’t planning on it anyway!)

Whinge whinge whinge!

I have nothing to whine about. I am grateful that I am healthy. My family is healthy, although distanced. I am thankful I am isolated in the age of the internet (although that is a double-edged sword.) I am grateful for the economic privilege I have. I live in a developed country.

So let’s start that list again!

  1. I haven’t been able to see my best buddy, my little Grandson for 3 weeks. I need to keep him safe, he needs to keep me safe. Given the nature of my job, I am too risky for him to be around. Given his age, he is too risky for me to be around.
  2. I haven’t met any of my friends for 3 weeks, except the ones who also happen to be co-workers or on Zoom.
  3. I haven’t been able to go to the gym. But my home gym in the garage is rocking to the Zoom classes my sister, a personal trainer, is running! Check out her classes at Village Fitness
  4. I haven’t been able to buy toilet paper. I don’t actually need any due to a lucky coincidence I’ll explain in a little while.
  5. I haven’t been able to teach my class. But they are still learning online.
  6. There have been no students at my school although it is “open” for the children of essential workers. However, as a member of the School’s Senior Executive, I have been attending every day. I get to go out! I’m also supporting essential workers to stay at work.
  7. My regular Monday meeting and training night for the group I volunteer for is cancelled. But we are still attending emergencies.
  8. Every event in my calendar has been cancelled. I can relax!

    Empty Calendar
    No events! The P&C meeting was cancelled too!
  9. I won’t be travelling anywhere these school holidays. Hang on, I wasn’t planning on it anyway! It’s the Year of Zero!
  10. I am doing my bit by being socially responsible.
  11. I am going to stay at home.
  12. I am going to keep my distance when I go out for essential items.
  13. I am going to wash my hands frequently.
  14. I am going moisturise said washed hands every time I wash them!
  15. I am going to dust behind the lounge. I am going to dust the top of the pelmets on my windows. I am going to dust behind the TV.
  16. I am going to do at least one jigsaw puzzle, but not the friggin Mona Lisa one which had too many plain black bits! I couldn’t even finish the border! Or the desert one which had too many plain red dirt bits!IMG_4797
  17. I am going to write every day at my “best” time! Not when I am tired and overwrought from a busy day. Incidentally, that’s early in the morning.
  18. I am going to enjoy the clear blue sky when I go for a walk. It has been so clear and so blue.

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    Walking on the sand. I didn’t make it home before that storm hit!
  19. I am going to enjoy some crafternoons. Love that word! How long has it been in the lexicon?
  20. I am going to make that family cookbook I have been promising to do.
  21. I am going to carefully ration the year’s worth of toilet paper I bought in January. (Feeling a little bit smug here.) As part of my Year of Zero, I did a big shop and bought a year’s supply of essential, non-perishables so that I would only have to worry about buying fresh food when I went shopping. I didn’t stock up on sanitizer at that time though!
  22. I am going to figure out how we can get Jacinda Ardern to be Prime Minister of the World. Seriously we need a Jacinda!
  23. I am going to slow cook.
  24. I am going to watch and laugh at Pluto.
  25. I am going to learn online.
  26. I am going to sew.
  27. I am going to create new stories and finish the half-finished ones.
  28. I am going to up my no waste efforts.
  29. I am going to enjoy good teapot tea every day because I have time!
  30. I am going to work on my side hustle.
  31. I am going to do everything with interesting podcasts in my ears.
  32. I am going to figure out how to do compositing on Photoshop.
  33. I am going to sort out my digital storage. (Wait up, I don’t think we’ll be in isolation long enough for that one!)
  34. I am going be grateful that my family and I are safe, and so far, healthy.
  35. I am going to hope that everyone else stays as safe as they can. And that people don’t behave like jerks and go out!
  36. I will hopefully be able to see my little buddy soon, after 14 days of “real” isolation.

 

STAY SAFE! STAY AT HOME, WASH YOUR HANDS.

 

 

Signs of the Corona Times

Coping with Coronavirus and its various restrictions is very much at the front of our minds.

This week’s Sunday Post is a return to the Photo(s) of the Week theme. Here are three images which I think sum up what’s happening in the urban first world.

1. Social Distancing

Sure you might have to order from the pavement, but heh!!! you can still get your coffee!

A woman ordering coffee from the pavement
Stay there, please!

2. Working from Home

You might be working from home but at least you’re working! And, if you do have to catch a train, it won’t be crowded!

a train station with empty platforms
Wollongong Train Station: 6:57 AM – on a weekday!

 

3. I can’t go to the gym!

No, you can’t! Or the beautician or the pub or a cafe (unless you order from the pavement!) But there is a good reason for that! “Curve flattening”, people, curve flattening. A flat curve is a good curve!

a picture through the window of a gym it its empty
Oh no, you’re not! Not any more!

 

One thing though as a population, we are much better at reading exponential graphs!


Of course, there are many much more serious impacts. People dying, hospitals being overrun, domestic violence increasing due to lockdown restrictions, hoarding, etc. I don’t mean to diminish the importance of being vigilant and careful. I do mean to emphasise that we should be grateful for what we do have and do our best to help flatten that curve.

Stay at home! Wash your hands!