I’m glad we have Zoom technology these days, because it has allowed me to take advantage of some really cool writing seminars, and to sit in on hearings for a family member arrested in connection with police brutality protests. Next week, I’ll use Zoom to attend a virtual concert, and my sister-in-law is doing a lot of medical consultations via Zoom tech.
So having internet access is probably a good thing, given the present pandemic, and alas for the tens of millions of Americans (mostly poor and/or rural) who don’t. I also suspect that having a pet and most especially a dog makes coping these days easier. Pets are good company, they distract us from our woes, and they give us messes to clean up. Dogs who need walking also get us up off the couch, and when it is that ever a bad idea?
If I had to list another item to keep in my pandemic bag of tricks (besides good books, of course), I’d include hobbies. We don’t hear much about hobbies any more. Our children and grandchildren have activities, extra curricular classes, or instruments to practice (or they did earlier in the year), but those goal-oriented, qualitatively evaluated, supervised efforts are not a hobbies.
I think of hobbies as non-productive activities undertaken purely for fun. I am a flower gardener several months of the year. I used to bake a lot. I ride horses when my thumb and wrist aren’t boogered up. These activities don’t earn money, they don’t have to be social, and they don’t relate directly to what I do for a living. They are enjoyable pastimes that I’ve pursued for the sheer joy of doing as I please.
They also create a time when I’m not attending to the news, not fretting over that man without a mask in the produce section, not staring down some character who won’t tell me what his defining trauma is (Sycamore Dorning, take a bow). My creative brain needs these moderately-engaging, low stress activities to free up my subconscious to solve problems, generate new ideas, and make new associations between divergent concepts.
I NEED the break hobbies provide, in other words. I benefit from goofing off in ways all the focus, discipline, and determination in the world can’t match. When reality is scary and uncertain, knitting a scarf, methinks, can be the best coping mechanism.
I hope some clever PhD candidate in psychology or sociology is studying how we regular folks are weathering unprecedented storms. I suspect simple tools–a hobby, a pet, screen-free days, passion projects, or handwritten letters–will prove to have stood us in good stead.
Have you ever pursued a hobby? If you could pick up any hobby at all, have all the tools right at your fingertips, which one would it be? A long, long time ago, I earned a Girl Scout merit badge in embroidery….
I will add three names to my ARC list for My Heart’s True Delight, so let’s hear your dream hobby ideas!