This pandemic — the sheltering at home — provided many of us an opportunity to examine our lives from a slightly different point of view.
For some, we discovered we could function without reporting to an office each day. Others challenged themselves to develop or learn a new set of skills. Many took the time to read a book or binge-watch shows or movies.
My experience, however, was not so glamorous. Yes, I learned I could work away from the office — and in many ways, the sheer pace and volume proved exhausting. I can’t wait to return to the office full time.
And I suddenly appreciate the pure pleasure of an old-fashioned phone call versus wondering why the person I’m chatting with on a video conference call did not bother to make the bed behind them.
But there are other aspects, those more personal.
My wife said having me at home was like living with a 4-year-old all over again. I tried to figure out how that was a compliment but to no avail.
I think my gnat-like attention span was getting on her nerves. I sure am going to miss peanut and butter jelly sandwiches in the office.
And while I did challenge myself to learn a couple of new computer software applications, my kids were there to offer what I consider less-than-above-board solutions.
Trying to use an app on my phone to transfer money to one of them, the trouble-shooting advice felt a bit suspect.
“You are not putting enough zeros in the number,” one said.
The other, when asked to make a transfer back to ensure the app was fully functioning, said the setting on their end only allowed receiving money. Again, I’m feeling a bit suspect of both.
But the most crucial lesson is discovering I am neither mentally or physically equipped to do a 1,000-piece puzzle.
My fluttering attention span is the wrong tool for a puzzle party. After you get the border done, you suddenly sober up to the fact this is going to take more than one sitting — many more.
And there is the physical part of a jigsaw puzzle. I’d consider myself active, but the leaning over a table, squinting and looking for a specific piece with a thingamajig here and another over there is painful. I am not too proud to say my puzzle-making exercise resulted in repeated tablets of ibuprofen.
The shelter at home is done — at least for now. But none of us will ever be the same again. Going out is now a decision, and our homes, believe it or not, are no longer stopovers — places to go when not at work or going somewhere.
Strangely, I fell in love with home. Maybe it was the slowing down — the forced down-throttling of my life.
If anything, this window gave me an appreciation of how a home is so much more than a roof over our heads — it is where we discover ourselves.