Elizabeth: Doing Things, Making Stuff

These past few months have been interesting, to say the least.  What started out as a minor adjustment (working from home instead of the office) turned into an anxiety-inducing pandemic (masks, social distancing, stay-at-home orders), and now feels like a weird kind of new normal.

In the beginning–ignoring the worry part–it wasn’t too bad.  No more commuting.  I could work in my pajamas all day and no one would know (not that I did).  And suddenly my neighborhood actually seemed to be populated with people (keeping their distance, of course).  Sure, I had to cut my own hair periodically and Amazon 2-day shipping turned into 2-week shipping for the items that were actually in stock, but the local bakery and Chinese restaurant remained open for takeaway orders, so I could continue to get treats while feeling good about helping a small business stay in business.

Early on, just for fun, I started posting brief one-liners on Facebook every day as part of what I thought of as My Covid Diary.  Six to ten words is hardly the stuff the Great American Novel is made of, but at least it felt creative.  Some entries were funny–not always intentionally–and occasionally one seemed to really resonate with others.

One entry many women I know were able to relate to was about hair-coloring.  Even when you’re trapped at home and few if any people will know, seeing daily proof in the mirror that the real you isn’t quite what you’ve been showing the world can be annoying.  The one and only time I tried to color my own hair it came out green-ish, so the mirror and I are just going to have to come to terms with each other.

The post that really resonated with folks the most, wasn’t funny or even a particularly deep thought.  The day I posted it I had been sitting around considering all the things I could do while sheltering at home and actually doing none of them.  I was thinking how ironic it was that the one time I was home and could wait for a repairman to show up was the one time that no repairmen were available.


Anyway, apparently I wasn’t the only one neglecting to leverage my new free time to do ALL THE THINGS.  Turns out, others felt the same way, and I also saw a number of posts from mental health workers and behaviorists, who confirmed that in times of stress and anxiety not doing all the things is a perfectly normal response.  Apparently self-care is the order of the day.

Well good then, I’m right on track.

So now, instead thinking about all the things I could or should be doing when I’m not working, I’ve just been doing the things I want to, when I want to, and not worrying about how much time isn’t being completely optimized.

One day that meant going through my mom’s old fabric stash and making a bunch of masks (which have now come in quite handy).  Another day it meant doing a deep-clean of the bathroom.  That may not sound exciting, but it’s amazing how much better I feel having a sparkling clean bathroom.  Most recently I turned all those random scraps of fabrics left over from mask-making into a quilt.  It wasn’t an item on any ToDo list, but it was fun and distracted me from constantly watching the news or refreshing the WorldOMeter coronavirus statistics site, so I’m considering it a win.

Slowly I’m beginning to feel my creativity come back to life.  I’ve been taking pictures when I go out for my evening walk and I’ve even been able to get some writing done.  I still have no plans to do ALL THE THINGS, but I’m starting to think I might just give SOME of them a try.  After all, it doesn’t sound like I’ll be leaving the house anytime soon.

So, how about you?  What have you been doing (or making) these past few months?

3 thoughts on “Elizabeth: Doing Things, Making Stuff

  1. Like everybody else, I’ve been baking. I baked a lot when I was younger and had more people in my household. Then I baked a lot less. Now I’m baking a lot more again. I enjoy the process of it, I enjoy the smell of fresh baked goods, and I have a sweet tooth, so it’s a win on three levels. I try to give 2/3 of it away right away. I have two solid takers—my neighbor across the street, and a friend who lives just up the hill. So I don’t have to go far, and they give me things from their garden—plums (when they’re ripe), basil, dill, mint. Yesterday I scored a few oatmeal/cherry cookies, which I scarfed down immediately. So I guess it’s more of a food exchange, as in the “allowable-activities” realm.

    I wish I could say I’ve taken up quilting or sewing or painting or yoga or the Master Classes, or any of the other things that people seem to be doing. But that is not me. Not that I’m depressed. I’m just not feeling challenged to do anything other than what I’m doing. Congrats on the Covid Diary! What a great idea. (And I’ve been following it a little bit, too. It’s always enjoyable.)

    • I’m right with you on the baking, Kay. Just last night I made some banana-raspberry coffee cake, which I will now convince myself is a perfectly reasonable breakfast, lunch, or dinner food. Not that I needed the coffee cake, but the raspberries were about to go over the hill so I had to do something with them. We can’t have waste, right? Though I may now have more waist 🙂

      • Ha! Yes, I am only too familiar with this thinking. I made a delicious layered coffee cake with cinnamon and toasted walnuts the other day because my sour cream was heading south, and we Don’t Like Waste. Except, as you point out, Waist. Banana-raspberry sounds delish.

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