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EDITORIAL: What were we talking about again?

Get a hobby. Develop skills. Do something.

It’s amazing how the mind works.

I can (silently) sing nearly all the words to “Friend Like Me” from 1992’s Aladdin, a movie I haven’t rewatched in years, but I can just barely remember what I packed for lunch today.

With COVID-19 updates stuffing my virtual inbox and social media feeds, I can heartily assure you I am just as tired of hearing about it as any of the rest of you. During this time, it’s difficult to devote any amount of our brainpower to anything unrelated.

Here’s the thing, though – we have to.

The other day I saw a Facebook rant shaming someone for driving down a street. It didn’t appear to have anything to do with speed, rolling coal, a loud engine, nothing like that. Just driving by.

If you’re like this and so bored that you’re looking out the window, scouting for otherwise innocent vehicles on an open, legally driveable road, it’s time to grow up and stop. It’s time to find something else to do. Social media shaming was unproductive pre-pandemic and is even more so now. Maybe the person was getting gas, groceries, running to check on a neighbour. Maybe they were just bored. You don’t know, and your rant doesn’t help.

The point is whenever possible, especially during times of great trial like this, we need to live our lives the best we can. Keep calm and carry on, as the 1939 British government poster once said. There’s a friend of mine who has taken up painting during her time at home. My wife has taken more time to work on scrapbooking projects and to help re-stock the sold-out sections of her handmade greeting cards.

If you’re not feeling especially creative, that’s okay. We all have different talents and interests. A friend once told me that if ever there was a time to have to hunker down during a pandemic, it’s now. With the internet, we have the sum of all human knowledge at our fingertips. We can pick up and start to learn a new skill in a matter of minutes. Maybe when this is all done, you’ll have learned a bit of sign language, learned to whittle (use wood, not soap), perfected that interesting tie knot – anything.

I can’t understate the importance of keeping in touch with friends and family, too. I admit, I’m a recovering flake in that regard, but keeping connected while apart is easier now than it has ever been before. Even if it’s just to shoot the breeze for a little while, that social interaction can go a long way in these tough times.

Staying informed during this time is important, but don’t let it cost you your life. If you feel you’re starting to stew in your own anxiety, it’s okay to take a break. I’ll still be here when you get back to inform you of the important goings-on in our area.

Stay happy, healthy and kind, folks. Every day, we’re a little bit closer.

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