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Lessons learned during the pandemic

     With so much time to think, sit around, get bored, I've learned a few things D.P.—During the Pandemic. Such as -

     It's okay to talk to yourself. Especially if you're the only one around to talk to. And out loud is fine. Just not too loud. The neighbors might wonder what you're up to. I've always talked to myself, but I'm doing it a lot more these days.

     Lying down in the afternoon is good, especially when there's nothing else to do. It's a good time to meditate, not to mention giving my back a break from all the hard work I'm not doing. It's very relaxing and somehow not as boring as sitting in a chair trying to think of something to do.

     Morning and evening walks help kill the calories and my muscles are thanking me for sticking to daily stretching exercises. All those stiff, achy muscles are radiant now. B.P.—Before the Pandemic—I had more excuses for not having time to exercise. No excuses now.

     A little procrastination doesn't hurt. The days stretch out interminably before me so of course I can do whatever it is tomorrow. Instead of being glad I have something to do, I luxuriate in the nothingness and, um, procrastinate. But—bonus! When I finally get myself in gear and do what I've been meaning to do for the past couple of days—or weeks, or months, or—it's like a celebration. Wow! I finally did it!

     Baking's good for killing time—um, I mean for getting you up out of that chair. Last week I hauled out an old faded recipe card and made a pineapple coffee cake from scratch. "Scratch" meaning with a baking mix, but still, I had to add sugar and spices and eggs and pineapple juice and crumble brown sugar and sprinkle cinnamon over it, so it counts. At least in my book.

     Groceries delivered with an app is a winner! I get on my Ralphs app and click on everything I would normally have to walk up and down the aisles for, toss into the grocery cart and haul out to the car. Instead the Ralphs shopper does it all. Most of the shoppers are really good. If something's not in stock, they send pictures of possible substitutes. Next thing I know, there's a text that my groceries will be arriving soon. I don my mask, go to the door and pick up my grocery bags. Done!

     Friends and family are more important than ever. It's hard not to be able to go out and see them, but texting and phone calls help us keep in touch. An occasional note, card, flowers or candy sent through the good ol' USPS. lets them know you're thinking of them.

     The outdoors is a blessing. A step out the door and you feel the peace. Plants are thriving, birds singing, helicopters buzzing overhead, lizards scooting under the bushes and contrails sweeping up through the blue of the sky. Life! Talk to the neighbors—quick! put your mask on!—to see how they're doing.

     Daily drives are a necessity, D.P. Tapping your fingers along to the music, or if you've got an energetic voice, singing to it—it's okay, no one's listening. Discovering new streets or traveling old familiar roads is a good break from the boredom of sitting at home. A drive-thru at the end of the trip for a latte or hamburger brings you home with a smile on your face—and tons of calories.

     Faith fills the silence. More time to think about life, how to make it better, how much needs to be made better, how to enjoy what we do have. I'm lucky to live with my son and daughter and we appreciate each other even more now—it's good to have someone to be bored with. Visits from my other two sons and other family members are really appreciated.

     These are some of the lessons I've learned D.P. I hope you're not just surviving, but thriving in your own way during these hard times. Keep smiling, stay well, see you soon -

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