One of the reasons why I enjoy writing my own stories is the total control I have over everything. I get to decide if my story takes place in the real world or a fantasy. I choose what my characters look like, what color eyes they have, and how they dress. I can dictate if my main character will be a heroine who lives happily ever after or will have their life end in tragedy. That’s the thing about writing—there’s no limit to what you can do. You’re in the driver seat the entire time. But one of the challenging parts about writing is deciding what to name your characters.
There’s always a bit of hope when one thing ends and another begins. That has always been my world view anyway. I try to see life from the lens of optimism, even in the face of crushing struggle and heartache. When 2020 arrived a global pandemic that brought a sinking economy, massive job losses, and the worse public health crisis anyone has ever known wasn’t exactly what people had in mind. I had hoped that the start of a new decade would bring about a world of possibilities. Instead, most of us of are staying home and wondering when this will all end.
What I miss the most since the pandemic started is being able to meet up with my friends and family without any fear of contracting a deadly virus or giving it to someone else. Many of us are longing to hug each other or picking a restaurant to dine in at. Though these things are temporarily off limits, one thing I am forever grateful for having is an Internet connection.
Between news stories about the number of coronavirus cases rising or the deaths that have resulted from COVID-19, there have also been stories about the hottest item to own right now while you’re currently sheltering in place —Animal Crossing: New Horizons. The video game that has taken the world by storm, and was reported last week to have sold a whopping 13 million copies in 6 weeks, New Horizons is emerging as a welcome respite from our dark reality.
Spending a month and counting at home to stop the spread of the coronavirus can and will eventually take its toll on you. Maybe you’re starting to feel extreme cabin fever, despite every effort you make to go on the occasional walk while social distancing. Or maybe you’re just plain bored out of your mind after doing everything that could possibly keep you busy. I’m doing fine for the most part, and haven’t snapped from the confinement. But I do think all this time indoors has started affecting me in weird ways. What is it you ask? I’ve created an inventory of my video games.
When it comes to appreciating the smaller things in life, especially in this time of upheaval, I’m grateful to have such a wide and varied number of interests to get through this pandemic. If you’re able to stay home during this public health crisis to keep yourself and others safe, one of the things you might be wondering about is what do you do to keep yourself busy and sane until it’s all over? In my case I’m glad I’m able to hop from one hobby to the next without ever really getting bored. I’ve talked about writing, gaming, and watching shows to pass the time. Another thing I’ve been doing to keep my mind occupied, and taking a much needed break from the bleak news out there, is reading.
Spending a significant chunk of our days at home will most likely prompt many of us to be creative with the time we’ve got when we’re not dealing with real world problems. We all need time to relax and de-stress because, let’s face it, living through a global pandemic is depressing and rife with a lot of anxiety for many of us. A running joke I have seen on social media is how introverts are more capable of dealing with long and extended amounts of time inside than the extroverts and social butterflies of the world. As a self-professed introvert much of the time, I do think there’s a grain of truth to that joke. I’ve got plenty of home activities to keep me busy for however long I’m expected to stay home. Being unable to commute to the office or go out in general doesn’t bother me too much, but I do miss seeing friends and family in person. Despite the extraordinary circumstances, I’ve taken this as a good opportunity to draw my attention back to my video games backlog.
Writing my current novel has been an on-again, off-again love affair for years. I would have days where I seem committed to it, and I felt nothing could break my momentum. Then a few weeks or months go by and my unfinished draft goes untouched, gathering digital dust in a folder on my computer. Now that I’ve managed to gradually overcome the hurdles stopping me from writing, regardless of how much I still doubt if what I’m doing is still worth the effort of pursuit, I’ve gotten into a writing routine that has worked and helped me immensely in the last few months.
Spending most of your time at home will motivate you to finally turn your attention to the activities you have been putting off. These days everyone has run out of excuses for not being able to do whatever it is you have been meaning to do. I’ve been guilty of having a long mental check list of shows, movies, video games, and books I always tell myself I would make time for but never do. When going out and being socially close to other people is temporarily out of the question, your next best option is to focus on home activities. Lately, I’ve been catching up on a number of Netflix shows that have been sitting in my queue for months. Here are some of the shows I’ve been watching when I need a break from the dreary news on TV.
The itch to travel and escape to a different city or country typically hits me between the spring and summer months. I’m always dreaming of new places I haven’t visited or explored yet. Sometimes I may even get nostalgic for the ones I have been to and decide to plan a trip there again. But current events being what they are right now, travel anywhere in the world is out of the question at the moment and maybe for the rest of the year. How the remainder of 2020 will look like in the next 5 or 9 months depends on how soon it will be considered safe to resume normal life again. While I can’t hop a plane to my next exotic destination any time soon, I’ve taken solace in video games for a bit of escapism. The game I have returned to lately is The Legend Of Zelda: Breath of the Wild.
We’re living in some pretty crazy and scary times right now. None of us could have predicted how drastically the start of a new decade would unravel right before our very eyes. The world has come to a screeching halt and livelihoods have been upended by something we have no control over. The only thing we can do is hunker down and take care of those who are most vulnerable from this pandemic, while helping our healthcare providers and staff from getting overwhelmed at our local hospitals. Despite the severity and gravity of the situation everyone around the world is trying to make sense of and navigate the best way they can, one thing spending time in self-isolation has done, at least for me, is put everything in perspective.