Quarantined not caged
A friend of mine shared with me the ‘tribulations’ of his brother after staying home for the past three days. It seems, his brother doesn’t know how ‘to stay home’. He says that he feels lost and confused. He wakes up, turns the TV on, tunes to SuperSport and, luckily for him, they have been playing reruns of previous matches and documentaries of past footballers. This is how he spends his day, in moments when he is not complaining about Coronavirus. While he has managed to go through the past three days, he says that he feels like a caged bird. I imagine this to be the story of many others, who are not accustomed to this way of living. From this narrative, I thought of putting together some suggestions that can help you make the best of this time.
The current design of life, what we would regard as our normal, leaves very little time (if any) for thinking. We wake up and it appears the whole of our time has been budgeted for. This cycle leaves very little time to think through things or to keep quiet for a while. Why not give it a try this time? Just taking thirty minutes a day, lying on bed or sitting down in a room gazing at the ceiling with a notebook next to you. Look at the ceiling long enough and start asking yourself those questions that may easily be dismissed as ‘silly’. Why am I alive? What exactly am I doing with myself? Why am I doing all that I do? What if I was a bird? Whatever thoughts come to you during this time, write them down and act on them immediately after. If you don’t seem to think of anything, try writing down the names of your primary school classmates and some of the activities you liked then.
Let me tell you something, some of the greatest inventions in history have been invented at such times. What do you think Isaac Newton was doing when he took notice of the law of gravity? Also, keep in mind that God likes silence. He will inspire something in you during this time. Please set some time off and ‘do nothing’.
There is something that you may not have realized in your family. There is so much knowledge and talent in your house. My family decided to give an idea a try. We challenge everyone to prepare something, more like a presentation to make to the family. So, each person decides what to present. It ranges from, “Did you know?” kind of facts, little known historical facts, ideas that we may have and would love to share, to generally telling the family about school or friends. Throughout the week, we have a schedule; one person presents on Monday, another on Tuesday etc. Each of us presents something in their area. We have tried it since the beginning of the week and we are intrigued at how much we connect with each other on this basis. You could give this a try.
For those who feel bored, time crawls. For others, time flies. Either way, things become easy and achievable when you have a schedule. It is even better if you plan the schedule the day before. Or better still, when you plan for your time together (depending on who you live with and your circumstances) so that you also keep each other accountable. If you don’t plan for what to do, Facebook founder Zuckerberg has a plan for you. Your time will slip through your fingers with the incessant WhatsApp messages and the lure of other social media platforms. So schedule, write it down, follow it through and make sure you do as much as you can during this period.
Try the home book club idea now
This is the best time to actualize the home book club idea. How does it work? Select a book that you would like to read as a family and set aside a specific time in which you will read it together. For us, before this period, we set aside 40 minutes after dinner but now we have set aside two hours, one hour between 11 am and 12 pm, and another between 2 pm and 3 pm. We engage in our individual activities but come together to read the selected book (aloud and rotationally) after which we discuss the ideas we come across; we then resume our individual activities. We have finished two beautiful books so far. This idea helps with accountability, puts everyone on the same page, acts as an ice-breaker to discuss difficult topics and bonds the family more.
‘YouTube University’ and Online courses
If you have access to internet at home, you potentially have access to 50% of your growth opportunities and 50% of your troubles. You can travel the world, literally. How about if you register for an online course and do it to completion within this time? With a bit of time on your hands, you can learn a new skill outside your current expertise. Would you like to try a new language or learn a bit about digital marketing? Whatever you seek, this is your chance. And most of them are free. Consider doing a number of them now. Watch inspirational videos, moving documentaries and so much more. Take this chance to add something to your cap. Ask your close friends or mentors to recommend something for you to do.
Reach out and connect more
This is a good time to call those you have not contacted for long. You could try Video Call Apps like Zoom, Skype or another avenue. When you call, don’t be in a hurry this time. Take your time. Ask about the hens, the cows, the fence, the weeds and all the little things.
Why not try some writing?
Do you realize that most of the things you refer to are written? What will we refer to that originates from you? Why not try some journaling or basic writing this time? Writing does not have to be complicated. Just putting down some memories of your day-to-day activities. “Today, June was really troubled when I told her that she could not go to play with Annette,” you could begin. “But Annette doesn’t have Coronavirus!” June protested. Something as simple as this. Twenty years from now, when you give June this journal, it will form a great memory of her childhood times and friends. Something as simple as this. Or you could decide to write something personal. Just write something.
These ideas are just but suggestions. You could see what works for you owing to your unique circumstances. All in all, make the best use of this time.
This article was written by Gabriel Dinda, Founder of Writers Guild- Kenya and a Masters of Applied Philosophy and Ethics student at Strathmore.
Posted By , 02 Apr 2020