Adjusting to a New Normal

At this point, you’re probably like, “Hey! This isn’t a travel blog; you just write about Philadelphia and the COVID-19 all the time!” You are, indeed, correct. But the coronavirus and its effects are extremely impactful at the moment, and my original intent in starting “Where on Earth” was to reflect on my observations about the world / human condition while parsing through my own thoughts through writing.    

Today, as my calluses are peeling off my hands and I haven’t moved from my futon in a while, I feel a few things. I feel thrown off from my “normal” and I am upset (maybe more than I should be) that I can’t be rock climbing. We should all be social distancing right now and in Philadelphia, all non-essential businesses, including the rock gym, have closed. I have trouble sitting still and am so used to being busy all the time. Many of us, especially in the United States, have an unhealthy mindset about work and use of time – namely that boredom and even rest are enemies to productivity.

But sitting all by my lonesome is an inevitability these days. And I know I have to learn how to be alone. Many of us do. BUT the good news is, there are a plethora of things we could be doing during these trying times – some of which are more traditionally “productivity.” There are plenty of these types of list all over the interwebs these days, but maybe this one will be more fun?

Behold, a list of things my friends and I have been doing during self-quarantine or social distancing (that you should also try out):

  • Watch uplifting music videos (I recommend Sunday Candy)
  • Enter a photography competition
  • Go on a walk / run (until you’re not allowed to anymore)
  • Climb a tree and try not to fall
  • Bake cookies and scones  (and eat them)
  • Watch old seasons of The Bachelor
  • Pet your rabbit / give your pets some much-needed loving
  • Plan your great American road trip
  • Get really good at Scrabble and Catan
  • Work on a presidential campaign
  • Run a crack taco shop
  • Read a book (e.g. the autobiography of Frederick Douglass)
  • Teach yourself how to code
  • Grow your own scoby / make your own kombucha
  • Do that jigsaw puzzle you never had time for
  • Drink (your beverage of choice)
  • And most importantly SUPPORT YOUR LOCAL BUSINESSES!

As a student, I’ve been lucky enough to not be intensely financially impacted by the recent mandated business shutdowns in Philly. The order was suddenly enforced to promote social distancing, leaving local businesses unsure of when and if they can reopen. Clearly, the effects of COVID-19 reach far beyond health consequences and have severely restrained the livelihoods of many. Still, the Philadelphia community has really stepped up, with many restaurants like Kalaya and South Philly Barbacoa feeding their employees and offering pay-as-you-can meals to customers.

We can all do our part during this time! In Philly, restaurants are closed for dine-in, but many are still offering take-out options and gift cards to keep up an income stream to pay employees. Also, if you’re in / from the Philly area, my incredible friend Grace and Penn Appétit have started a sort of Secret Santa style exchange of restaurant gift cards. Sign up here!

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