That’s the question I’m being asked when I make human contact. Perhaps you are, too. Not asked so much as a health question, but rather as a check-in on emotional stability during this COVID-19 shelter-in-place. Some people are already going stir-crazy.
I usually answer for both physical and emotional health as fine. I really am doing fine. I get up in the morning feeling my usual energized self. By 4 o’clock, though, I’m dragging and ready for the day to wrap up. Yet, just as it was before the quarantine, I’m still ending the day with more to do than I have time or energy for. Boredom is not a problem around here.
While talking to our pastor on the phone this morning, after he had asked that question up there, I explained that I was raised to live like this. Growing up way out in the country, with no siblings at home, a mother who didn’t drive, and a father who dedicated his life to his crops, I lived a pretty sheltered life. As a family we rarely went on trips anywhere besides the grocery story once a month, or into the big city for shopping for back to school and Christmas. Sunday afternoons, after church, we might take a drive around the countryside so my dad could see what other farmers were doing. He always wanted to compare his crops with others or see what new crops other growers were putting in.
There was no public library in our town at that time, and even if there had been, it was miles away. We didn’t have a television until I was six years old. We listened to lots of radio programs and my mother read the paper every day which made me interested in what was going on. The Montgomery and Spiegel catalogues offered a glimpse of another world. I loved going to school and to church.
Even with that small world, I cannot say I was ever bored. Some days I had to look harder for things to occupy my time. Family photographs were a favorite way to spend time. My mother had boxes of them, going back decades. I walked the fields when I was old enough to be out on my own and made up stories. Every time I was able to get paper and pencils, I would write out some of the stories. Some of the field reps gave my dad small notebooks with their logo printed on the cover that he used to keep track of which field needed water or cultivating or planting. He kept track of seed, fertilizer, and payroll in some of the notebooks, and he often gave me any extra ones. I loved them for writing my own stories.
Living a small, quiet life has made this time in history pretty easy for me. Sure, I miss seeing my friends for lunch, reading stories to first graders, and being in church each Sunday, and these activities will eventually return, but until then I will enjoy reading, writing, cooking, walking, and using social media to connect with the outside world. When it gets warmer, I am looking forward to working in the yard and cleaning the patio and garage. Those chores will really keep me occupied. I will be fine.