When this pandemic started in March, I was determined it wouldn’t get the best of me but despite the pep talks and plans I’d make in my head at bedtime for “tomorrow,” mentally it did. Many people I know have enjoyed the isolation, or at least the opportunity to tackle projects they didn’t have time for before, but I on the other hand was married to my appointment book.
As government and volunteer meetings and social activities dropped off my schedule like falling dominoes, a desperate uneasiness crept into my psyche. On a professional level, the face-to-face interviews I love to do were replaced with very impersonal telephone or email interviews. Personally, I was envious of the “essential” workers allowed to be out and about, around people and living life with some semblance of normalcy.
As a result of what seemed an unending twilight zone, there were instances where I forgot what day of the week it was, but what’s worse, there were days I didn’t care that I didn’t know. As surely as Sherman burned his way through Georgia, COVID-19 burned its way through my appointment book taking with it the purpose and joy in life that I had found again after my husband died.
I did have one light in that dark tunnel, and it was the Navasota Examiner. Despite feeling its own impact from COVID-19, the newspaper allowed me to continue to report events by whatever means I could, and I grudgingly acknowledge that it was technology that enabled me to do so. I have a love-hate relationship with technology, but I shudder to think what life would have been like for many of us without computers, Zoom, YouTube and Facebook Live.
While this “Aha!” moment I’m about to share may seem silly, it’s an example of how my concept of time had gotten out of whack. A new habit I acquired because of COVID was retreating to my recliner and binge watching the Acorn, Netflix and Roku channels, particularly an Australian drama series about five women running a cattle and sheep ranch. I’d been watching it a month when one of the lead actresses was killed off. I was devastated! Why would they kill her off so quickly? I loved the characters whose mask less lives were so much more exciting than mine right now. In my twilight state of mind, I fretted over how the show could survive without her. Would I continue to watch it, or even want to watch it?
As I mourned her passing, it dawned on me that the first two seasons had 22 episodes and I was already nearing the end of the third season with 30 episodes. That meant I’d done a heck of a lot of TV watching in a month! As for the actress, she had committed three years of her life in real time and I guess she was ready to move on. And move on was what I needed to do, in more ways than one! The show did survive another five seasons and I’ve continued to watch it but have reined in the binge watching. Now I watch maybe five episodes a week while on my treadmill, having picked up pounds from my slothful lack of activity.
There are those in Navasota who may disagree with the “local” approach in dealing with this virus. I for one am grateful to our mayor and city staff who haven’t capitalized on the opportunity dropped in their lap to control our personal interactions and livelihoods. I’m grateful to the businesses who opened their doors when allowed to again. I’m grateful that others kept their heads and their perspectives when I was lazily losing mine.
As I struggle to free myself from the lure of my recliner, I’ll leave you with this quote from Benjamin Franklin.
“A life of leisure and a life of laziness are two things. There will be sleeping enough in the grave.”
Connie Clements is a freelance reporter for the Navasota Examiner and award-winning columnist. She writes feature news articles on a weekly basis and an opinion column as the mood strikes her.