Shelter in Place

Home Alone, 2020

I’m alone as I “shelter in place” while writing this during the COVID-19 pandemic of 2020. Yet although I know that loneliness can be devastating for many, I’m lucky in that I have always needed and relished solitude during my career as a writer and editor. Here at thirdAGE.com, where I’m a Co-Editor-in-Chief, I’ve been happily working remotely for years. Even so, I’ve found the current situation to be different in very positive ways. I hope that the following tips from my experience will help you, especially if you’re new to working from home:

1. Connect more often with friends and family members.

I’ve noticed a surge in text messages, phone calls, and emails from my family as well as from friends – some of whom I had not heard from in a very long time. I’ve found this development to be comforting and cheering. Consequently, I have Googled and located some of my long lost friends. What a treat to be in touch once again!

2. Try some virtual exercise classes.

Other than being a writer and editor, I’m a former ballerina and now a ballet teacher. My current teaching job is on hold with the studio closed. I know how to do a ballet barre and some center work at home, but I’m delighted to find many classes offered online during this crisis. There are also virtual yoga and workout classes online. I highly recommend giving a virtual exercise class or two a whirl!

3. Meet your work colleagues online.

Last week I joined a meeting with my work colleagues, many of whom I had never met in person before this given my remote status. I enjoyed every minute of the banter and laughter as people stuck with the plan to make this session upbeat and even funny. Sometimes, your work meetings may need to be more serious. However, virtual get-togethers just for companionship and fun can be worthwhile as well. In addition to Zoom, there are other virtual hangouts. Google to find them. Those of you who are gamely homeschooling your kids probably are old hands at this by now!

Zoom

4. Find virtual entertainment.

Broadway musicals, concerts, dance performances, and other live events have  been cancelled. Find alternatives online and enjoy your “sheltered” evenings. Oh, and think about donating if you can to an arts organization of your choice. Most of them are struggling financially now.

On New Year’s Eve 2019, I wrote a Facebook post for my online friends in which I said, “Happy New Year and Happy New Decade! The start of a new decade always ushers in for me the sense that fresh opportunities and unforeseen possibilities await. Yes, I know that adversity can happen. I’ve been around for a while, after all. Yet as Alexander Pope wrote in 1734, “Hope springs eternal”. I wish the very best for you and yours in the days and years to come, as well as the courage and companionship to cope if you do face a difficult turn of events. I treasure my connections with all of you.”

That message is especially apt now. The adversity is here for all of us. But we need to keep hope alive.

Sondra Forsyth in a Co-Editor-in-Chief of thirdAGE.com. Please visit sondraforsyth.com.

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