While you are stuck at home, get creative

While you are stuck at home, get creative


Wednesday, April 08, 2020

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With the coronavirus raging as it is, most people have been forced to stay at home. In the “twinkling of an eye'” our lives have literally changed before us. Many things will never return to where they were before, and new modes of living will emerge irrespective of what traditionalists may think. It is either that things get better or worse for nations as well as individuals. What seems clear is that many things to which we were accustomed will not be the same as they were before COVID.

It is only a big guess as to how long we will be holed up in our homes. The scientific and governmental authorities do their best to sound hopeful. “Flattening the curve” is a term which actually flatters the virus, for no one knows for sure what new tricks this virus may produce when we humans believe that it has peaked and we can return to some normalcy in our lives. We do the best we can observing the best hygiene standards and social distancing, among other things, but we hope that these actions will pay off.

However long it takes, and whatever path the virus takes, we cannot afford to give up. Worse, we cannot afford the complacency and downright irresponsibility that too many people display in not taking the virus seriously enough, thus allowing it to spread and delaying our return to normalcy. While we do our bit at home, this is a time to get creative. It is certainly not a time to mope or to feel sorry for ourselves.

Everybody responds to crises differently. We bring different coping mechanisms to bear on negative events in our lives. Those who you would think may crumble under the weight of presenting problems may be the very ones who are able to call upon strength they did not know they have to overcome difficulties and survive. Conversely, many who showed exterior strength and steely resolve may crumble in fear.

However you bear up, it is wise to get creative in the midst of the crisis. People speak of being bored at home, as they, in local parlance, “get house colour”, but the best antidote for boredom is activity. This is the time to find out hitherto hidden strengths; to unearth hidden potentialities and put them to work. There may be things that you wanted to do but you have been putting them off, doubting your own strengths or listening too much to the nattering nabobs of negativity that are around you.

One of the things you may have always wished you could do is to write a book. You have a lot of time now for reflection and doing just that. Since Amazon, writing and publishing a book has become quite simple for the ordinary person who wants to write. It begins with the first sentence being written. You have to put pen to paper, as the saying goes. Nowadays we have all kinds of devices on which we can pen our thoughts and save them for another time. You do not have to have publishing in mind. That may come later. But for now, carve out a brief time, find an engaging spot, and start writing.

Are you good with your hands? If you are a seamstress, tailor, or just someone who likes to sew, you have a good enterprising opportunity to build masks. Masks of all description are among the most sought-after commodities in the world today. As the virus moves up to its peak, and before it is flattened, many more people will become infected. I suspect that masks will become more in demand by that time. I would urge the interested to look at this possibility for the hospitals and the general public. Perhaps a few seamstresses or tailors could call up their colleagues and get going. It is a good opportunity to earn while you are stuck at home.

What about the creative teacher? How can you use the Internet to develop and propagate your skills? The Internet presents the best opportunity for people to use their creativity in very productive ways — for counselling, for culinary arts, for Bible study, and a host of other things. Teaching people how to do things with their hands and expand their minds is among the most productive things we could do at this time.

You may not like to bend or to work in the dirt, but this might be a good time to learn the art of gardening. There is no end of tutorials on the Internet as to how you can grow things. We have become conscious of the need to eat organic food, so this might be a good time to create your little garden plot at the back or side of the house. Even if you live in an apartment there are ways in which you can do so, though on a more limited scale. The hardest thing is to start. If you do not know the basics you can call on the Ministry of Agriculture. They would be more than happy to give you useful suggestions.

Are you a pack rat? Then it is time to clean house. I will admit that I am the quintessential pack rat, but I am getting better at divesting myself of useless trinkets I have collected over the years. My son told me that if I have not used certain things in six months then it is time to get rid of them. He is right, but it is hard. There are things which we want to hold on to, but there are many things that we know we should get rid of. In responding to this need, I recently started to build a small shed at the back of the property. I never knew I had it in me to build a shed from scratch. If you want to see it when it is finished, I can send you a picture. Just let me know. It has been a useful and enjoyable exercise while stuck at home.

While you declutter your home, be mindful of the need to declutter your mind. There is as much 'debris' in them as there are lying around your home or in your office. You will be the better for it. Be creative.

Dr Raulston Nembhard is a priest and social commentator. Send comments to the Observer or stead6655@aol.com.

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