Across the globe, families are self quarantining. Isolation is recommended for those who traveled abroad, for those who know someone who traveled abroad, and for those who stayed at home and might possibly pass by a person who traveled abroad if they go outside.
What seemed like a simple fourteen days of school closings has stretched into thirty. Theme parks are closed until the May. Restaurants and bars are take out only, and stores are all online.
Yes, we can function perfectly fine, thanks to visionary computer programmers beginning back in the 1960s. However, the items deemed valuable have changed now that socializing is viewed as unethical. That isn’t much need for a sequin purse if the gala has been cancelled. Based on my personal investigation, grocery stores are out of the staples: toilet paper, milk, cookie dough. The gyms are closed. And some of your best friends are too scared to get closer than ten feet from you.
While kids and teens can cope just fine with electronic devices, music downloads and movie rentals, dads are experiencing a crisis. Banished from entering the office, sentenced to working from home, they are officially bored out of their minds.
The crisis is in how we handle non-stop family time. After all, an idle mind is the devil’s playground. This translates into potentially controversial interactions.
We might find family members standing their ground over trivial issues just to make something interesting come about. When we are stuck indoors with no end in sight, a logical remedy is to get the mind in motion.
Use this mandatory freedom as time to go back to the basics.
- Sprinkler Fun – remember the old days when a hot afternoon meant it would be a fun day. Mom would set up the sprinkler in the yard, and freeze fruit juice on sticks. Today’s irrigation systems put a damper on this concept, but you can still rig a garden hose by hanging it on a tree and spaying water across the deck.
- Walk the Dog – Dog walking is calming to the soul and it forms a bond with the fluffy fellow. Having a purpose when you set outside gives you the satisfaction of having a purpose.
- Paint the Front Door – it seems we could always use a touch up here or there at our 100 year old home. Men thrive on having a sense of accomplishment, and perking up the focal point of the house does wonders.
- Nap – yep, it is not a sign of weakness to take a nap. Somewhere along the way over the yeas, naps have become viewed as a habit for dullards. But, back in the old days, naps were considered therapeutic. A subsection of napping is meditating. Add focused efforts to clear your mind to your nap time.
- Make it from Scratch – time is now your friend. Get out those mixers and choppers and sifters you inherited from grandma and whip up your favorite childhood goodies.
- Tree Swing – tie a rope to a tree branch and let the joy begin.
- Clean Out – empty your closets, and put a fresh coat of paint on the walls. Next, tackle those drawers. Next step, climb a tree. You get to enjoy the view, work those muscles, and get close with nature.
- Make Christmas Decorations – old-fashioned ornaments were made of fabric scraps, pearls, sequins, and ribbons. Consider using items you rediscovered while cleaning out your closets. Finishing touches can be added with a marker and glitter glue.
- Oil Equipment – now is a perfect time to take apart a lawnmower, an oscillating fan, and any other gadget that doesn’t work perfectly.
- Kick the Can – add a variation by giving a prize to the last man standing. Include ribbons to pull off each other’s belts to increase the interactions. Set up treats at stations to space out levels of completing the chase.
- Polish – Glossy doorknobs and knockers make a home shine. Shiny silver is the centerpiece of a room. Modern kitchen appliances crave an extra glow. Your favorite jewelry loves to sparkle.
- Plan a Vacay – the quarantine won’t last forever. Putting together a vacation package can take months when you are also juggling life.
When we need a break, we tend to keep going at the same pace. A primitive fear gives us the belief we will fall off the path and never return. Life has a way of forcing us to take a break. It seems to know our thresholds.
What I’ve noticed with the change is that people have slowed down. A gentler side is resurfacing. The world seems more civilized. Driver’s are polite and patient, instead of rolling their eyes and honking. Men are holding doors open, once again, as opposed to speeding through before you. Clerks are voluntarily packaging foods and giving an extra service you used to have to ask for.
Just keep in mind that family time includes being together while doing your own thing. True relationships don’t require activities or conversations in order to form a connection. Embrace this old fashioned sense of freedom our global society truly needs. Meanwhile, follow my mom’s failproof coping skill by making several flavors of homemade fudge.