If there is anything good that can be said of the pandemic, it’s that life has slowed down—at least my and my husband’s life has. In Before Times, we led crazy-busy lives. I have a demanding full-time job, we run our non-profit foundation, and of course, I write books. I also served as secretary for a local women’s organization.
In a typical year we would have at least five in-person fundraising events and a couple of online fundraisers, with all the planning and execution those involve. We’d have day-long in-person board meetings three to four times a year, along with the various schmoozing events we’d attend. Because we are both so involved in the community, our social calendars would be crammed with all kinds of dinners, lunches, and parties.
That all came to a screeching halt last March when the world shut down. Suddenly, we had copious amounts of time on our hands. And it was . . . glorious!
In Before Times, we were lucky if we got to watch a movie or TV we’d recorded on our DVR. Forget about getting drawn into any kind of series. In Before Times, we’d squeeze in exercise whenever we could find the time. And in Before Times, I was far more likely to be setting our large dining room table for a dinner party, rather than settling down to work on a jigsaw puzzle.
In After Times, TV, puzzles, and exercise became our pastimes.
Thankfully, there was/is quality programming on TV, especially with all the streaming services available. I signed up for three streaming services—something we never bothered to do. After all, why pay for something we’d never use?
We’ve watched some of the most beautiful documentaries we’ve ever seen, including The Elephant Queen (Apple+) and My Octopus Teacher (Netflix). We were sucked into the fabulous The Queen’s Gambit (Netflix), like so many other people around the world. And we’ve begun watching The Crown (Netflix) from the beginning. I signed up for Disney+ exclusively for Hamilton, which I’ve watched several times. We’ve also enjoyed re-watching old TV shows like West Wing. And I’m really looking forward to the PBS Masterpiece Theater remake of All Creatures Great and Small.
Then there are the jigsaw puzzles. I had quite the puzzle Christmas, receiving four puzzles as gifts from friends and family. I’ve always loved jigsaw puzzles. They can be quite addicting for me. In Before Times, it was better for everyone involved if there were no jigsaw puzzles in progress in my house to distract me from other important tasks. In After Times, there’s always one waiting to obsess over.
Lest everyone think my husband and I have become completely sedentary, we’ve been taking at least two (if not more) four, five, and six mile walks weekly. Where we live in North Central Florida, beautiful hiking trails abound. And then there are our daily (weather-permitting) walks on the walking trails throughout the 2000-acre development where we live. It’s been sublime, without the need to rush back for this social event or that meeting. We’ve grown even closer during these walks, talking intentionally about things we never had the time to delve into.
With the roll out of the vaccines (I got my first one last week, and my husband got his first one today), I see a glimmer of life’s return to normalcy. A big part of me yearns for this. I miss spending time with my friends, hugging my family, enjoying neighborhood get-togethers, being in the same room with my co-workers. But a return to normalcy also means a return to my frenetic Before Times life. And I’m not sure how I feel about that.
Other than writing, what have your pandemic pastimes been? Did you take up any new (or old) hobbies?