My Pandemic Vacation: Five Lessons from Home
This morning I decided to rename 2020. It is now called, "2020: The Year of Home." I refuse to etch into my memory the year of the pandemic, or the year of COVID, or the year of Corona. It is now known as the year I spent the most time in my home probably since I was an infant. Thankfully, I like my home. It is comfortable, cool in the summer and warm in the winter.
My home has always been a place to relax, and unwind. Now it is also a place to work, a place to stay safe, a place to teach students, a place to attend meetings via ZOOM, a place to write, edit and share, a place to learn new things like Adobe Education Exchange and Muck Rack Academy, a place to sew, a place to listen to podcasts like Blackbelt Voices, a place to garden and a place to figure out how to find more time in the day.
Five Things I Discovered at Home
There is always more to learn about others. As protests unfolded across the country I found myself watching more shows/podcasts that targeted Black audiences or represented Black culture. This is not something I previously avoided. I can say, however, that I made more of an effort to listen and discover new things. In listening to Blackbelt Voices, I laughed and cried. Since I happen to know one of the hosts of this podcast, I was able to ask questions and comment about things I discovered. For example, I have traveled to the region in Mississippi near where the Elaine Massacre occurred many times. Yet, at no point, did anyone ever tell me about the Black history which shaped the region.
I cannot survive with WiFi. Earlier this year so many people found themselves stressed because they were not set up to work and learn from home. I am thankful that for the most part, I was prepared to keep marching forward. I recognize that not everyone has the resources or finances or the type of job which allows them to work from home. I appreciate the fact that I do, and cherish this time at home.
Make time for mental health and exercise. At the beginning of the pandemic, like so many others, I did not take time to reflect or exercise. As a result, I gained weight and battled feeling blue. As the weather changed, I began spending more time in my yard and taking a walk around my neighborhood every morning. It definitely makes a difference.
Humans step up when faced with uncertainty. This is not my first disaster. In my lifetime, I have been through natural disasters like Hurricane Katrina. I vividly remember the World Trade Center crumbling. And watched in horror as wildfires burned in California. Each time, people stepped up. People helped others. Story after story unfolded about strangers helping strangers, neighbors helping neighbors and family helping family.
Take time to enjoy outdoor activities close to home. I have always wanted to get into an RV and travel around the country. This desire is not new. As spring turned into summer, I became more serious. I only needed something small. And did not plan to go far for my first adventure. And then, everywhere I wanted to go experienced pandemic outbreaks. So, I set my sights on places to go that were closer to home. Places like Cuivre River State Park for kayaking, Columbia Bottom to view the sunflower fields, Creve Coeur Park for kayaking, the Katy Trail for bike riding. And, many, many walks around my neighborhood.
Next up? Building two resilient courses for Fall, as well as one online course. And, taking a photography course online.