Thoughts, and opportunity list.
A few days ago, I humorously passed along a meme, Quarantine: An Introvert’s Holiday. It rings partly true for me: I’ve been an extrovert, and I’ve been an introvert. I remember the specific foolishnesses of those periods (including the ire of the one teacher who took her class time to deride my writing of my class office speech on toilet paper). But life and society around me have molded me variously between one and the other. I comprehend them both.
As some of my close friends will tell you, I’m a thinker. From my own conversation to every day concepts, I think about things from seven different perspectives to understand them completely. Many of my friends have moved on from the concept by that time. But all this to say, it takes me time to mentally resolve an issue. Now, I can do it quickly; but something in me remains uneasy, as it’s really not yet completely settled. So, in the end, I require the solitude of undisturbed thought. I guess I’m an introvert.
Humor aside, part of me actually relishes the idea of a complete quarantine, allowing an opportunity for my thoughts to unfold, taking care of all the “thought baggage” that has been building up over the years, concept by concept, unfinished. Like any artist who can’t possibly compose with the phone constantly ringing, some things simply need complete concentration. Yet my lifestyle’s been frenetic, run here, do that; but all of the things that require, at a minimum, an hour of concentrated time have gone undone. The concept of being sequestered actually presents as holiday.
So, my purpose is not to debate the merits, but to share the things that I’m looking forward to the possibility of doing — those “concentration items” (at least for a thinker) that now present with the ability to clear the board. I share the list, largely, simply to keep me on track, as the list is public. I look forward to the opportunity to “tick the list off” as time and quarantine go on.
As a side subject, I believe that this is going to go longer than we think it will. Best projections (even assuming significant social distancing) is that this will peak in June. But because we humanly weary of the isolation, when this begins to pass, people will return to their previous activities and a second, almost equal wave will reissue, peaking perhaps in November. This may be around for long time. And that would be a conversation for a different writing. Meanwhile, if we see the blessing in this opportunity, perhaps there is advantage to all of us. Here’s my list as the thoughts, like Pandora, as they begin to come out of the box:
- Learn music theory. And piano. I’ve taken an online course where one of the modules given for free is music theory. This stuff is deep. But I’d like to be able to ultimately tell a story, empowered by that foundation. And learn piano in the process (—and violin —and saxophone; all of which, plus congas, sit in my living room). I have the videos. Just need the time.
- Refinish that same piano. I bought it over a year ago, and have started to take it down to finish, and bring it back up with a process called “french polish”. This will be a big job.
- I have a set of books called Harvard Classics — fifty volumes of some of the greatest works and wisdom the world has seen. I’ve had this set for thirty years, but have watched an awful lot of TV in the interim. I crave this foundation, not only for my sake, but for those whom I’ll come to influence. Nobody likes an idiot.
- Write a book. I have its notes (and started this process) over twenty years ago. This one is probably the most important one to me.
- Clean my desk.
- Compile the ideas I have for patents, and bring these to application. These too, go back decades.
Well, that’s the main list for me. There are certainly other smaller items, car projects, web projects, clean some of the windows/blinds in my home, etc., but those are the big rocks. If I come out of this with those things accomplished, I will come out a very different person than when I went in.
Now, I know that what’s welcomed for one is very hard for another. If I may give my thoughts, or share my counsel for those, allow your clock to slow down a little; relax a little bit. Allow yourself to get silent for a bit, perhaps simply enjoying the breeze through an open window. Allow the thoughts to come; listen. In this, you may be able to apprehend a growing perspective, like a still, small voice, as to what’s really important to you. In this, if you care to share, what’s your quarantine list?