We love this question for several reasons, mostly because it portends that the pandemic will come to an end. Also, it makes you wonder: will you look back on this time and wish you had done more with it?
We might not love this time of our lives but it’s all we’ve got. It’s like the philosopher said of Sisyphus. Own the boulder! Think of it as making the most of the effort, not the outcome, since so much is out of our control.
First, a big thanks to everyone who responded. We loved reading your replies.
Among the things that were mentioned several times: Reading, walking, online fitness, kayaking, Instacart, online trivia, meditation, and friends and family video calls.
Quite a few mentioned physical activity like James Gehlke who said, “Daily long walks on the riverfront.”
Here are some of the many replies we received.
“I’ve been baking some extraordinary cakes, cakes I had no idea I could create, such that it has stunned my friends.” David B Bennett. (Note to David: a sample would have been nice!)
“Getting to know my neighbors more.” John Ingraham, consultant (We can only hope our neighbors say the same about us.)
“Learning ASL.” Mayalena Maher
“Daily Spanish lessons through Duolingo.” Jess started mid-April and hasn’t missed a day yet.
“I rather spontaneously applied for a micro-grant to produce an archival zine — and I got it! I’m traditionally a writer, but having so much fun incorporating visual art into my work; now I’m thinking about developing it into a series. Though life feels chaotic in many other ways, I don’t think I would have made the space to pursue this project under ‘normal’ circumstances.” Candace
“The speed of life. I never want to go back to that frenetic pace I kept prior to Covid.” Jess Jackson
“COVID forced us to slow down. I used to limit myself to being out two weeknights per week (so I may also then be out and about on weekends). I miss many cultural events, eating out, visiting friends and more, but I do think this has taught me to slow down and appreciate my close friends and family and our time together, enjoy cooking, get more quality time with dogs and young people in my life, find time to read a book instead of just listen while doing something else … life goes by too quick. I hope I continue a slower pace so I don’t miss the important things all around me.” Lauri Fink
“Video calls with my best friends from college who live all across the country now. We are all in careers that require us to write (academics, novelists, medical professionals, etc.) so we get on Zoom and work together using the Pomodoro Technique (25 minutes of work, then 5 minutes of break, repeated), just like back in college. During our 5-minute breaks, we catch up on our lives and have a laugh.” Jasmine Kwasa, PhD student at CMU
“I have been hiking 3 or 4 or 5 days per week. At Moraine State Park, I discovered the North Country Trail which covers 4,600 miles across 8 states. I would like to continue exploring more miles of this trail.” Christine, an online ESL teacher
“On weekends, we’re getting our kids out in nature for walks in the woods. We always say we’ve been meaning to do it, and we would do it maybe once a month before Covid. But now we try to go once a week. Being outside is restorative for us all. Even if our kids, ages five and eight, are whiny and complaining about ‘yet another hike,’ within 10 minutes into the trees and they are calmed. Getting outside and staying outside has been an important lesson to us all about the healing properties of nature. Humans are meant to be outside.” Tina Tuminella, freelance writer
“Not driving needlessly to meetings.” Laura Nettleton
“We’ve started attending Adam Knoerzer’s online wine tasting/education classes. We live in Carlisle and really miss our trips to Pittsburgh but Adam’s classes are great!” Matt and Kathy Laser, distraught Penguins fans
“Signed up for ‘spot the station’ (not to be confused with ‘stop the station,’ although I follow that too). I get an email from NASA every now and then with one line like this: Time: Wed Aug 26 5:35 AM, Visible: 3 min, Max Height: 64°, Appears: 19° above SW, Disappears: 37° above ENE that indicates where you can see the space station. It’s basically a bright light moving across the sky that appears exactly where it says and disappears exactly where and when it’s supposed to. Not a particularly long-lasting activity but a random unique event. Joyce Leifer, physician
“Bi-weekly across the knee wall happy hours with my wonderful neighbor.” Marie Popichak, KDKA studio operator
“Making time for my plants, from transplanting to propagating to acquiring new plants (like the rattlesnake plant). I downloaded PlantSnap to identify plants I have and have taken cuttings from well-established plants to start new ones. It’s quite gratifying to watch a plant grow –and thrive — from a simple cutting. And now I have quite a few ‘pandemic plants’ I started that will always mark this time.” TH, plant lover