Our planet is a fascinating place. Our bodies are a wonderland. Our relationship are adventures of discovery.

What is around you that interests you? Who are you? In these days when we are cloistered in our homes we still have opportunities to explore and discover and learn.

Dread of a world locked in pandemic doesn’t have to lock up the world’s minds. By effort we might avoid acedia, spiritual and mental sloth, and we might avoid anhedonia, the loss of interest in pleasure.

Recently, shadowed over by the execrable, dark-clouded specter of the coronavirus, I felt like I had perhaps lost something of myself. I seemed to be less, diminished while sequestered at home. I’m not. I am what I always was — curious about many things. I just need to tap back into that. Maybe you do too.

Today you might make a list of your interests, your fancies, your whimsies, your amaturifications, your loves, your avocations, your hobbies and pursue some of them.

I like reading. Lately, I’ve been exchanging book ideas with friends. I’m in the middle of a book by Simon Winchester. He’s a popular historian and has written books like Atlantic, Pacific, Krakatoa, and the Men Who United the States. By the way you have never read Winter Dance by Gary Paulsen do so. It’s a hilarious story about running the Iditarod.

My wife likes games. She beat me soundly the other day at a card game called King’s In the Corner. I consoled myself that the game is mostly luck, mostly. Last night one of my daughters told me she was planning to make puzzles and drink hot chocolate with a roommate. Good combination.

I like nature, geology, botany, astronomy, ornithology all of natural history. So on TV we watched Voyage of the Continents, the story of tectonic plates. Fascinating! perhaps to ease or brains we later watched the movie Jojo Rabbit, a fun satire.

Also along the lines of enjoying nature, I put my binoculars by the back door, and I have been watching the birds come to my small pond – doves, house finches, white lined sparrows, black phoebes, yellow goldfinches, and hummingbirds. One night last week I set my telescope out back and looked at Venus and the moon and the Orion nebulae. Venus showed a quarter phase. Jupiter and Saturn and Mars are visible in the morning sky these days, and I’m planning on getting up early to see them soon.

I like music. The other night my wife and I watched an old Moody Blues concert. Fun! This rock ‘n’ roll band included symphonies in very creative ways in their music. I might pick up my guitar today. I’ve neglected that. One of my daughters was home recently, and I helped her buy some new songs on iTunes. I like some of them too and download them onto my phone.

I like writing, thus this blog. I like you, my readers and I am always trying to think of someway to encourage you. I also write modern proverbs at http://www.modernproverbs.net and modern soliloquy at https://modernsoliloquies.com I am looking around in my head for a book idea.

I like gardening. Yesterday, I mowed the lawn and pulled some weeds. It cost me because of some chronic pain issues, but it was worth it. Making things grow, particularly flowers, makes me feel peaceful, and I love sitting in the sun outback and looking at the plants I’ve cultivated. My neighbor gave me an artichoke plant last year. Yesterday, I found my first artichokes growing at the top of it. I think I’ll cook one up today.

And this is another avocation of mine. I love cooking because I love eating. I’ve found some new vegetarian recipes. Yum! And healthy. Yesterday I made chicken soup. Perfect for a rainy day. Some of my new recipes I’ve gotten from friends and family. It’s been fun to text people lately and just ask, “What are you eating for dinner tonight?” It gives you new ideas. By the way, have you ever tried coconut popsicles? They are a new favorite of mine, but I’m beginning to see them show up around my midriff so, hum. Unable to go to the gym, I’ve been using some stretchy bands. It’s surprising me, but you can add muscle mass that eats fat even with these little rubber stretchies, very affordable on Amazon.

I also like restoring, remodeling and home decoration. Yesterday, I forced myself to paint one of the new interior doors we had recently installed. My wife put on the first coat. I put on the second. I didn’t really want to do this, but I loved the results. Every time I walk by that new gleaming white decorative door, I get a small jolt of pleasure just seeing the improvement.

I’m definitely not saying that life isolated like this is easy. I feel afraid at times during the day. I don’t like the uncertainties of my own health issues or those that cover the globe. I’ve even broken down and cried a few times lately because my pain was so unrelenting. But I do find that pursuing my interest takes my mind off my pain and off the scariness of our world right now and helps me through these days. I’m not ignoring the crisis or my issues, but I’m limiting myself check out the news only once or twice a day, and I’m trying to remind myself and you that there are still many good things in the world.

I like driving, fast! Yesterday, because it was not a bad pain day for me, I drove my car out into a rural area near our home. It felt free to breeze through the turns, stomp the accelerator, hear that high-performance V-6 purr and growl. But I also slowed and spotted some snowy white egrets on blue Otay Lake, and I noticed the yellow wild flowers blooming alongside the road — the sunflowers and the mustards.

And here is something else. I’m trying not to be selfish even though like everyone I’ve watched the Dow fall and some of my retirement funds shrink. I worry a bit, but I want to avoid a mentality of scarcity. My relationship with God helps. He has been generous with me.

Working to manage our own anxieties and our finances in the wisest ways we can, my wife and I have also teamed up recently to give money to family and friends and charities that we support. Even though this is a financially scary time, some of us may still find some resources of time or money to care for others. The psychologist say that we are most happy when we are most generous.

This doesn’t require money. I like talking to people. This is a way to give that doesn’t necessitate finances. I’ve been trying to text or call at least a few people each day. I listened to a podcast that suggested we do this. It feels good to reach out. It mitigates my loneliness and isolation and others too. Yesterday, I texted with a friend from Maine. We haven’t had contact for a long time, but isn’t this the perfect time to reconnect with old friends far away? She sent me a picture of the snow In the field behind her house. Beautiful! I sent her a picture of sun, me sitting in it, something California seems to always have plenty of, even in crisis.

The upshot of all this is that we are still in charge of ourselves and we can still make choices. Remind yourself of what moves you, what fascinates you and add to your day by pursuing that.

The world feels weird right now and scary, and yet it is still beautiful and interesting. I pray everyday for its healing and mine. And I work to find ways to be content and productive.

Life still has good in it. What if you and I figure out how to snag some of that?

  1. Beth L Eldridge says:

    When it gets too scary, I discover I have moved my eyes away from Jesus. As soon as I move them back, I am calmed. But I think I will try a few of your ideas, too! Thanks 🙂

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s