Bluebirds. Illustrations by Andrea EhrgoTT
Self-isolation? Lockdown? No problem.
I retired early a few years ago and then I was widowed unexpectedly so Iâ€™ve had a few years practice at being alone with no imposed structure to my daily life. I am now a champion at killing time and social distancing. Iâ€™ve adapted to boredom, and, as there is no competition, I can tolerate my own company, most of the time. Hobbies have helped fill long, empty days. A hobby is an interest or activity engaged in for pleasure. There is no mention in this definition of standards, competence level, grades, or proficiency; just pure pleasure.
It is a pleasure to remain in bed after waking early to do nothing but watch the light filter through the curtains and flicker on the wall, listen to the birdsâ€™ dawn chorus, and read the news on my cell phone. This entertainment can be stretched to at least an hour. Easily.
My next hobby, after breakfast, is doing ballet to ease those creaky joints. I use a wobbly office chair as my ballet barre, and stay dressed in pajamas and slippers for comfort. Iâ€™m delighted to discover that my arms have retained some muscle memory and know where to go. My legs, however, have a mind of their own, a very undisciplined one. Still, there are no judges and nothing diminishes the pleasure I feel at the end of the routine as I curtsy to the computer screen.
Fortunately we are spoiled for hiking opportunities in the Santa Monica Mountains and even as trails close during this lock-down period, I can walk along the canyon and enjoy the absence of cars, the movement of swaying branches, darting lizards, dappled sunlight on leaves, and water flowing in the creek. My daily walks are aimless, no destination in mind, no real purpose. I simply put one foot in front of the other, move, and soak up the minutiae of my surroundings, allowing nature to steady my heart.