Here is what I learned about myself in the last three years: I’m at an age when the results of the choices I make in my day-to-day routine seem to echo throughout my life in unexpected ways.
My artistic nature made it easy for me to withstand the rigors of isolation at the beginning of the pandemic; I was happy to spend my time at home, lost in a world of books, the world wide web and my own craft. But after so many years, I realized I was too settled in my own ways; I felt morose and much older than my years.
Those annoying quirks I had dismissed in my and my husband's parents as signs of old age, were trying to show themselves in my own behavior, and my creative juices were reduced to a trickle. I realized my brain space was reducing as well, like an echo of my reality, and, worst of all, part of me didn’t care.
I believe I am not alone in feeling these symptoms, which I call the pandemic malaise. Many people have remarked on their shortened attention span, their forgetfulness, and their lack of interest in engaging in activities, especially those taking place outside their home. It is an unhealthy lifestyle in which the more we give in to the malaise, the more difficult it is to break the hold it has on us. Of course, a better diet and an exercise regimen, preferably outdoors, can help erase a multitude of sins. Although it is easier to pinpoint our physical needs, the benefits of a socially-engaged life are not as easily perceived. A recent article in the Washington Post asserts that “For better health, tending to your friendships is as important as getting to bed early or eating well.”
That is why I enjoy participating in groups that cater to my creative interests, like the knitting group. I am shy by nature, but during those meetings, I have enough time to leave my shell and engage with old and new friends. Seeing what others are working on arouses my curiosity and my interest in new techniques, shapes and color combinations, sparking new synapses in my brain. Like falling domino pieces, each new connection enhances the flow of my creativity and makes me happier.
Crocheted Cat Bed
Images by Shirley