Wednesday, May 20, 2020

Crazy, Quiet, Dragging, Fleeting, Treasured Time

Last week I offered advice to watch less television and spend more time outside. Then it rained. I mean it really rained. Buckets. Flash flooding. Puddles in the yard. I don’t even need the birdbath. The birds can find water everywhere they go. 

Still, I stand firm on the notion that the flood of mindless television to which we are exposed coupled with the buckets of frightening information poured out on us via media is worth limiting. Your weather, unlike mine, may be wonderful. Even perfect. For now. Be aware. Weather changes. 

This is why today I am sharing an indoor alternative to watching TV. I have a much larger list than what I’ll share here. I’ve been writing down all the things I would love to do “if I only had time” for years now. As a young mother, I thought of it as the incredible things I would do when I was no longer changing diapers and picking up toys. As a teacher I considered it my “summer list.” Then when my daughters grew older, I thought I would tackle the list when they left for college. 

The notebook of ideas grew thicker through the years. It morphed from a “summer list” to eventually the “retirement list.” Now it is the “isolation list.” During this pandemic there is no excuse. I have the time. It is my greatest commodity.

The very fact this period of being virtually alone will soon end lends a sense of urgency to check the boxes. 
I keep thinking I need to do these things now before I have to go back to the real world. Whatever that is…

Item 1: Family Photos
I realize I am the only person in the whole world who has boxes and tubs and envelopes with family photos stuffed inside. Still, I offer this as a much better way to spend time than watching face mask commercials. There is a mysterious element to it. Not only are there pictures of my own family with no dates written on them but I also have dozens of school pictures of children I don’t know. Not former students. These are pictures of kids belonging to friends or neighbors. They were likely tucked in Christmas cards. No names. No dates. No clue. 

I’m at the very least putting those unknowns aside and the pictures I recognize together by family member. The process is tiring and energizing at the same time. It is a job I’ve put off for many years. I can tackle it now because I am assured no one will come into my house and see the mess of photos strewn across the guest room floor.

Item 2: The Garage
The garage has become a dumping ground for every tool or odd item I find and don’t know what it is or what I might do with it. It isn’t that my garage is full of junk. I can still park my vehicles in it. It’s simply that along the walls, hanging from hooks, and stuffed on shelves you’ll find a collection of beaten and battered metal tools and a stash of building supply remnants I’ll probably never need. I also have partially used cans of paint, spray containers of who-knows-what, and an assortment of lawn food and weed killer. My garage is probably toxic. Definitely dangerous. So this area has been the target of time well spent during my isolation. A benefit of the work is a sense of accomplishment.

Item 3: That One Closet (or Cabinet or Drawer)
You know the one I mean. We all have that one area where we stuff things. The catch-all or junk drawer. I have more than one. There is the coat closet. Lots of odd gloves and hats I’ll never use along with a variety of odd jackets. Of course they are now gone. The “junk drawer” in the kitchen has been sorted and organized and cleaned twice during the pandemic. It could use another sifting through of things even as I type. I consider it a “hot spot.” I culled through my clothes closet and chest of drawers after reading Marie Kondo’s books on tidying up…though I refuse to talk to my clothes and ask them if they bring me joy.

The Rest of the List:
I’m looking at all I’ve written for this post. I seem to have spent a lot of my time cleaning. It sounds like a lot of work. I haven’t put a dent in practicing my piano or learning a new language. I still have a stack of books to read, crafts to complete, a workshop to set up, and crocheting to do. 

So Little Time. So Much I’d Love to Do. So I’ll muddle along and do what I can with the time I have. At least while it rains. Anything is better than non-stop coronavirus overload.

How are you spending your time?

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