by Paul Pakusch
Watching my fellow U.S. citizens deal with shortages and boredom reminds me of the "normal" living conditions I've seen in my travels. For example, when Stacey and I made a pit stop at a government building during an excursion on our honeymoon to Cuba last year, a state employee charged her 25 centavos for a few squares of toilet paper on her way into the rest room. She offered me none, and there was none to be seen in the men's room. Tourists are often advised to bring their own toilet paper when staying at a hotel in Cuba. This is the norm.
Then there's this:
No matter what your politics, it's a reminder to us Americans that we take many things for granted. We don't know the true meaning of "desperate."
First and foremost, take care of yourself. If you're sick, obviously get help. Otherwise, follow the rules about sanitizing yourself, your family and your environment.
If you're bored and stuck at home during this quarantine era, there are plenty of things you can find for yourself to do. The obvious is to sit and watch TV, whether it's movies, talk shows, catching up on soaps, or binge-watching your favorite Netflix series. But you can only take that for so long. Eventually, sitting on the couch is going to bring you down and you'll feel depressed.
I'm taking this as an opportunity to get projects done around the house. I've often heard retirees say, "There isn't enough time in the day to be retired." For so many of them, they've waited years to be rid of the obligation of spending 8+ hours a day at work and get to the tasks and social activities they've always desired. I feel that way; even though I now have 24 hours a day to do as I wish, I still feel like I don't have enough time to get to all the projects I want to get done around the house. We bought it a year ago, and while we've come a long way in making it "ours," there's still much to be done.
We are blessed. The internet is a modern tool that no other generation in history had to give us news from around the world in seconds. If lonely, we can easily stay in touch with such programs as Skype, Facebook Time, Google Hangouts, Viber, WebEx, Jami, Talky and WeChat. Many of these can be set up for multiple users so you can have group conversations.
Here are some more ideas for how to use your time:
Learn a craft; there are thousands of YouTube videos that teach you how to do things. Same with learning a music instrument; I've seen music teachers offer free lessons via live chat.
Take up drawing or painting.
Find karaoke videos on YouTube and sing along. No one is around to hear how badly you sing, so sing away!
Rearrange furniture, your cupboards, or your home office files.
Clean out your garage.
Rake your yard; it's spring!
Take a walk; ride your bike.
Write a blog, read other people's blogs. Write your autobiography!
Organize your photos or computer files.
Look up Jane Fonda's or Richard Simmons' workout videos and exercise.
Play music and dance like no one is watching.
Play board games with your family. Especially get those games out that have been collecting dust for years.
Read a book; many can be downloaded for free from the library.
Get your spring cleaning done.
Or the best advice of all: Read all the posts in my blog! Ha ha!