An extrovert copes with isolation. 

March 20, 2020

An extrovert copes with isolation. 

Editorial by Kate Krieger, MCP Staff Writer.

For anyone who knows me, they know that I’m the textbook definition of an extrovert. I hate sitting at home. I’ve always been one on the go. I can remember my mom always asking me, “Can’t you stay home one night this week?” My response was almost always, “No.” I was always on the lookout for something to do that wasn’t at home. My home life was fine, but I just got bored very easily, when I got the ADHD diagnosis during my undergrad at Grand Valley State University, it all started to make sense. But anyway, that really has no bearing on my life… well maybe if I ever actually took the medication I was prescribed this editorial would read a lot differently. 

When I heard the news that the Governor was closing all Michigan restaurants and bars (to dine in services) and then basically everything else, I thought my life was coming to an end. What would I do? How would I spend my time? This didn’t only mean that I wouldn’t have a place to “escape” to during the day, but it also meant I’D HAVE TO COOK! Another thing a lot of people know about me is that I eat out a lot, I mean a lot. So, what did this mean? What was I going to do? I had to stay home, cook my own meals and try to keep my daughter’s education on track without making her regress back to the beginning of her kindergarten year. 

My husband works for a marine dredging company and every winter he gets laid off until around the end of March, beginning of April. The majority of my year is spent without him around, but he’s currently home, waiting to hear when he returns to work and I have to say. It’s very nice to have another adult to talk to while you’re trapped in your own home.

So, school is out until further notice. Everything seems to be closed. It’s currently raining and I’m lucky enough to be able to work from home.

Like me, I know there are thousands of parents looking for ways to keep their kids occupied during this change of the times. Most of us are not homeschool parents, some of us are, but we all know even if the schools close down indefinitely, we still need to provide some kind of structure and activities for our kids.

I have a love-hate relationship with social media, but since we are supposed to be social distancing, I feel that social media and the Internet have actually been helpful for many parents scrambling for ideas. From national museums, zoos, libraries and other educational outlets, these establishments have stepped up to the plate and have started to offer some pretty incredible free resources for kids and adults. You can take a virtual tour of the Louvre, check out the animals at basically every large zoo in the world and learn how to doodle badly behaved pigeons with author Mo Willems. Spectrum and Comcast are even offering free Internet to those who don’t have it in their own home. As much as I have been enjoying exploring all sorts of websites and online learning resources, I have enjoyed slowing down and just hanging out with my family. We have all gotten so wrapped in what’s going on with this coronavirus, in my opinion it has been almost, dare I say, a blessing? This extrovert happens to be enjoying taking life a bit slower, taking walks with our dogs, collecting rocks and sticks, playing board games and watching the occasional movie on Netflix or Disney+. I even have done some needed cleaning and organizing that otherwise I would have continued to ignore. Even though the coronavirus cancelled our spring break vacation and is forcing us to see less of the people we love, we are doing these things because we need to stay safe, especially for those who are at more of a risk than we are.

I turned to Facebook (social distancing) to find out what other people are doing to pass the time at home, without all the luxuries we had just days prior and I found a lot of similar scenarios to my own. I found a lot of people were taking time to slow down and really look at what matters in their lives, their family. There are a lot of people who worry about not being able to “homeschool” their kids and I just have to say, you are not alone, none of us really know what we are doing in these bizarre times. The fact that you are trying and engaging with family is what matters the most in the long run. Most kids remember fun experiences like going for scavenger hunts over learning new math problems. I think living in the moment and making the best out of these situations is what’s going to get us all through these current hiccups in life. They may not be easy, but if we stay calm and focus on what’s truly important, I think we will end up alright.

 A good friend of mine reached out to me and offered me this little piece of advice, “We are all constantly too busy, distracting ourselves from life’s important things. Now we’re flailing about trying to find virtual distractions. Maybe the payoff is to sit and talk, pray, journal, write, go on a nature hike, check in on a friend by phone, read aloud to one another or just to take a nap and slow down. The last thing we need is non-stop distractions like binge watching a series on Netflix or just playing video games.”

I guess what I’m trying to say or to offer is that we all need to take a step back and to slow down and enjoy what you have right in front of you. We are lucky enough to live in one of the most beautiful places in the world, go out and enjoy it. The internet will be there when you get home and the stores and restaurants will open their doors again. In the meantime, there’s always take-out!

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