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We’ve Been Given the Gift of Time; Let’s Do Something Good With It! Here’s My Plan…

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I’ve spent the last 72 hours in ways I never thought I would…

The first 24 I spent processing the news that my kids’ schools would move to online classes at least through April 6 followed by the subsequent texts and emails that every sport and activity they are involved with have been cancelled.

As someone who’s very active in my church community, the emails followed that all church events have been cancelled through Lent (my favorite time of year) until Easter… 

Last Monday, I thought it was a great time to travel. By Thursday, I began to understand this issue is about more than us as individuals and whether or not we are willing to take a risk for ourselves, but the fact that by potentially exposing ourselves to this illness, we are in fact putting others at risk.

Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.

I know I cannot take any chance of putting others at risk, so I  understand why all these precautions have been put in place, but it’s still a shock to our system that with seemingly no warning, our lives were turned upside down literally in the span of 24 hours.

Avoiding passing this illness to others is especially on my mind, as my 70-year-old mother is in an assisted living facility, a new living arrangement for her in the last nine months.

Her facility is on lock-down. I cannot visit her for an unknown period of time … at a minimum a few weeks. And now they have confined all of their residents to their very small rooms. Thank goodness I have a landline for her and she is able to use it, so we can at least talk multiple times a day.

I totally understand the importance of keeping germs at bay for this population and I know I cannot take ANY unnecessary risk that I would become ill, have to quarantine myself and delay being able to see her when/if I am finally able to. She has no other family but mine, and this is already devastating to her.

All that said… I wanted to offer how I am aiming to frame what I can about this time in a positive way.

gift of time

Suddenly, those of us who complained that our schedules were so busy that we never had a second have all the seconds we could ever want…

Though I know this is not everyone. Thank goodness for our healthcare providers and government leaders who now have NO TIME whatsoever.

But many of us have been given a gift of time to spend with our family. Maybe not how we would have wanted it, but it’s here nonetheless.

Maybe it’s time to get out the board games, watch a movie together and sit around the dinner table instead of rushing off to this or that.

Maybe it’s time to take on a self-improvement project. Learn a language. Watch some YouTube videos on how to crochet. Exercise. Organize our homes. Get our taxes and papers in order. Read a book. Do some of those things we’ve “wanted” to do but put off for years.

I’ve tried to frame it to my kids in such a way. How can we use this time for good? How can we use this time to improve ourselves?

I’m making a list of possibilities that I’d like to share in the hopes that it will inspire you, as well. 

Here goes…

Joshua Tree National Park

1. Learn Italian

Since last year, I’ve been dabbling in learning Italian. Recently, I read the book Ultralearning by Scott Young (This is an Amazon affiliate link), which offers tips for how to retain more and learn more quickly. The author became fluent in four languages in one year and taught himself to draw portraits within 3 months.

I’ll be sharing a post soon about the techniques I’m using to learn Italian with the goal of speaking it, which is NOTHING like it is taught in schools. I hope some of you can take these tips and pick a language to learn in planning for future travels.

2. Take Walks

Walking has long been one of my favorite things to do to settle my overactive mind and to get some fresh air and sunshine. Since my mother’s health declined last year, that habit has had to fall off the list. It’s time to bring it back. Thank goodness the weather is starting to warm up!

3. Read Books

I absolutely love to read, but have a hard time completing a book these days. Part of it is my always-on-the-go mind, but part is not much time to sit down in quiet. Well, I’ve got all the time I want. Bring on the stack of books I have sitting in my office! 😉

I’ll be putting together a list of some of my favorite books to help curb wanderlust in the coming days, so stay tuned!

4. Learn Something New

I’m a lifelong learner. I LOVE to learn! I hope to take this time to learn more about my faith through online courses and books, improve my knowledge of the business of blogging and its many components and finish a number of online courses I’ve purchased and only gotten 2/3 of the way through.

Cami says she taught herself how to crochet by watching YouTube videos! I have no doubt you could pick about anything and learn it by watching YouTube or taking an online course.

5. Accomplish Some Blog Projects

There are so many things I’ve wanted to do with this blog, but there’s never enough time in the day. I hope I can knock out some big projects on my list for a long while to make this an even better resource for our readers and reach new people who don’t even realize there’s a way to travel free!

6. Organize My House

Our house is in pretty good shape, but there are some areas that need a clean sweep, including my paper files that are spilling over. 

7. Spring Cleaning

It’s spring! In addition to giving your home a good regular clean, why not a deep cleaning as well? Let’s clean the windows, blinds, fans, baseboards, get rid of the cobwebs and hit those areas that typically get ignored. 

8. Manage My Emotions

One of the best things I have ever done is enroll in a program called Self Coaching Scholars (this is NOT an affiliate link) last year. It’s a program run by Brooke Castillo who operates The Life Coach School and associated podcast (give it a listen; it’s free!). This might sound like mumbo jumbo, but I promise it’s not; I’m not a mumbo jumbo person!

She teaches you that your thoughts create your feelings and that you can change how you feel by working to change your thoughts. Everything that happens is just a fact. It’s how to you choose to think about it that determines how you feel, and your thoughts and your feelings drive your actions. So it’s very important to be aware of your thoughts and feelings and try to consciously choose your thoughts. 

Now I know that’s easier said than done. But she helps you understand how to begin to work to change those thoughts that you feel like you cannot control.

I hope to work more diligently on being aware of my own thoughts and doing the best I can to manage them during this difficult time.

9. Pray

As a faithful Catholic, I now have more time to pray and read the Bible. In these difficult times, I think prayer is more important than ever and I hope to join others around the world in praying for the health and safety of all people, for those suffering, for those on the front lines and that, of course, this will be contained.

10. Collect TONS of Miles and Points

And last but not least, this is a great time to stockpile not toilet paper, but miles and points ;-). I plan to make sure I’m doing everything I can to collect as many as possible.

We’ll be sharing tips on how to do that in the coming days…

My family’s main use of points is with Southwest, whose points now NEVER expire, so let’s load up on them while we have time and use them as soon as the worst of this illness blows over.

How will you use this time?

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