Words matter. The words we tell ourselves about our situation, matter. The language we use to describe our situation, matters.
I am seeing a lot of people expressing dismay over cancellations of events, appointments, delays in what they wanted to do. They are depressed, feeling imprisoned, stuck.
I grew up in the 50s in a remote town far away from towns or cities with lots of amenities. Winters were harsh. Most people had wood heat so wood had to be chopped and coal carried up from the basement where it was stored. If a family had a car, it was the person who needed it for work who got to use it. If it was too cold to walk any distance? The rest of the family stayed home.
We got a tv in the mid-50s, partly because dad was working out of town a lot and mom was left with two young children, one of them chronically ill with a mysterious ailment, and a tv with its one station at least kept her some kind of company during the week. We were also allowed to watch the Saturday morning cartoons.
But if the weather was nasty, we stayed home. It had to be really nasty before I got to miss school, but then I had to bring home extra work to make up for the time away.
If it was too cold to play outside, we had to find quiet activities. If my brother was finally sleeping we tip-toed to make sure he stayed sleeping.
During the day there was no tv - programming began at 4 pm. Mom had cooking/baking to do and to help make ends meet she began knitting for the local yarn shop, making store samples or knitting orders for customers.
We occupied ourselves with handwork, board games, card games, reading, puzzles.
We made do. We entertained ourselves.
As an adult I have been home bound several times for extended periods. In 2010 I broke my ankle and was non-weight bearing for 6 weeks. I was a prisoner in my own house unless I had help. I could leave, I couldn't get back in without assistance because of the stairs. I got through that time by...reading, handwork, games, telling myself over and over again that this situation was temporary.
The following year? Cancer and chemotherapy. Being immune suppressed I stayed home as much as possible limiting my excursions out of the house. Again - temporary. I wove as much as I could, read, did handwork. In 2015? By-pass surgery. Again, home bound because I was too weak/fragile to risk going out and slipping/falling on the ice.
When being told to stay home is not your choice, it feels like isolation. Like deprivation. Like...prison.
On the other hand? Right now staying at home is the best thing to do for everyone who can.
Special events will be scheduled again when this is over. Musicians will travel and play. In the meantime, there is the internet and live streaming, downloading. Alan Doyle seems to be taking this to heart, posting links to new, young performers and boosting their signal.
Authors are reading from their work and posting on You Tube.
Knitting/crochet designers are offering free patterns via Ravelry.
Neighbours are paying attention to the elderly amongst them and making sure they have supplies.
Yesterday Doug video chatted with his sister who is self-isolating in her residence.
I dislike the term 'social distancing' because it is *physical* distancing we need right now, not isolation.
So let's change the words we use. This is Home Time. Time to work on projects that we never seem to have time to get to in our busy/busy lives. Time to read that book (or books in my case) I never seem to get to. Time to clean the closet, organize the stash. Time to work on that Big Project that seemed daunting but now there is a chunk of time with nothing else to do.
Time to reflect on what is actually important in our lives.
Yes, I am disappointed that classes have been cancelled/postponed. But frankly? I would like to still be alive when the pandemic has swept through and I can get a vaccine for future protection.
Look for the silver lining in this pandemic cloud. If nothing else, this situation has shown us that we can actually slow climate change by changing our habits.
Currently reading No Fixed Line by Dana Stabenow