SUBMIT A StorY
From writer and podcaster Darren Paltrowitz from Long Beach, New York
For my wife and I, the current COVID-19 pandemic started out like it did for many New Yorkers. The grocery store-related panicking. The worries over whether we could really stay inside for weeks (or months) at a time. Concerns over whether or not we would have work for the long-term. The misinformation was everywhere, much like the anxiety.
Then sometime on March 19th, my wife started to notice that she was experiencing some of the key symptoms related to Coronavirus. We confined ourselves to our apartment before it became something you "had" to do. Fortunately she got better over the next week and change, and I didn't feel any symptoms for myself.
But I quickly began to notice 2 camps of asymptomatic people out there: "the bored" and "the entertained." The bored people tell you there's nothing to watch, nothing to do, they're lonely, they're missing how things used to be, etc. The entertained people are looking at things through a different lens, realizing the blessings that can come with the very same freedom. In other words, there's no shortage of things to watch or do, an obscene number of people to reach out to, events to look forward to and so forth. Perspective that can be simplified via "Is the glass half-full or half-empty?"
I personally wake up excited every morning. So many books I haven't read. So many movies and shows I haven't checked out. So many podcasts to catch up on. So many people to contact and hear the latest about. We eat ramen. We send postcards. We practice foreign languages. We do home-based exercise. And that's without factoring in all of the things I have to and/or should be doing.
So if you're among the hundreds of millions of people -- if not billions of people -- currently spending most of your time at home, do yourself a favor and think of this as a "life reset" opportunity. This may be your chance to start (and finish) all of those projects that you previously did not have time for.
For me personally, I'm going against that recent viral New York Times article called "Stop Trying to Be Productive." I'm staying inside, aside from the occasional short and social-distanced walk, and am also staying on-track. I'm taping interviews every day for articles; I got to speak with a guitarist from Radiohead yesterday! I'm creating podcast content. I'm starting to brainstorm about my 3rd book. I'm even trying to launch 2 new podcasts. All while working semi-full-time, exercising daily and regularly reaching out to friends, family and neighbors. These days there's nothing to lose and everything to gain, so why not keep flexing those creative and social muscles if you've got the time and energy?
From Hannah Gruer about her home town in Millburn, New Jersey.
There was a townwide call in Millburn/ Short Hills to make masks for essential workers in medical facilities so Hannah and her mom, Naomi, decided they should help out. “We have a ton of fabric in our house from various projects over the years & ordered elastic from Etsy”, said Hannah. At the same time, Atlantic Health circulated a pattern & guide for mask making. They made masks for the Cancer Center at Morristown Medical Center, and for a drug rehabilitation center in Harlem. Both were part of the town wide efforts. “Sewing the masks takes some patience, especially if your sewing machine is 30 years old!”, she added.
At the beginning of quarantine when schools were shut down, there was an effort in their town to cheer up kids by creating rainbows of any medium, be it hand drawn or collages, to display in windows for kids to see. The idea was that parents could drive their kids around town to find all the rainbows. What organically stemmed from that was chalk drawings around the neighborhood. Hannah’s street on Sagamore Rd, in particular, doesn’t have long sidewalk paths or heavy traffic, so the road itself is popular amongst social distancing walkers on a normal basis. With this, a few families started drawing art on the street which her family became excited to see on their daily walks. One house in particular has drawn gorgeous chalk art, featuring Disney/Pixar characters, and many uplifting quotes. You can follow their Instagram account @millburnchalklove