By Richard Bruce BA, MA, and PhC in Economics
Surviving & Enjoying COVID-19 Isolation
The number one activity of Americans and probably the rest of the human race is media. Sleep is number two. A number of years ago I asked several high school students if this was a good reflection of their life. Most said yes, but a particularly clever student said, yes, media was number one, but what was this sleep that I spoke of. The isolation we are suffering through in the COVID-19 crisis does little to interfere with our number one activity media consumption.
Media consumption is often seen as a negative but media includes the glories of music and art, comedy, drama, mindless action adventure, news that we need fulfill our civic duty of informed voting, and life long learning and education.
Beyond that the Internet allows us to challenge ourselves with effectively unlimited games, quizzes, and puzzles, that test our knowledge, logical thinking, and quick reflexes.
We also have ample opportunities to be creative. You can write web pages. On your web pages you can have jokes, poetry, short stories, or novels. You can express your opinions, share your recipes, tips on your hobbies, and an endless list of other topics. You can draw pictures, create objects of art, photograph them and put them online. You can write new lyrics to public domain tunes, sing, or play public domain music. If a work was copyrighted before 1925 it is in the public domain. You can create videos and put them up on YouTube.
Furthermore, you do not need to be socially isolated. You can phone friends and relatives. On the Internet you can get free long distance phone calls through Google, Skype, and no doubt many other services. These phone calls can be audio only or video and audio. You can gather the family for a video conference with Zoom, Google Hangouts, and many other services. You can learn about your friends and relatives through Facebook and many other social media. You can keep your friends and relatives informed through the same social media.
If you are feeling charitable and what to help others you can phone those friends and relatives who are feeling lonely and isolated. This should make you feel less lonely and isolated and people feel better when they do good things.
On the other hand if you are feeling argumentative there are plenty of places to argue on the Internet, Reddit is a favorite of mine. The challenges of an online debate are somewhat like the challenge of the unlimited games, quizzes, and puzzles mentioned above.
Reddit is also a good place to get questions answered. If I do not find the answer to a question on Google I find a relevant subreddit and ask there.
Use the Outdoors Safely
For most of us it is reasonably safe to exercise outdoors. We need to stay away from other people, and use personal protective equipment if we can not stay far enough away. Sun light kills the virus in minutes and the wind will blow aerosols caring the virus away in seconds. The average wind speed over land is about five meters per second. If the virus remains airborne it is likely to be lifted up into the atmosphere far above your head and of no danger to anyone.
Those that live in high rise apartments are a possible exception to this, but I am a senior citizen and I have only lived in a place where the only exit was through inside hallways for a few months of my life. Even when I lived in a high rise the walkways and stairs were open, but I live in California, that is less likely to be true in colder climates.
Nevertheless, most Americans should be able to access exercise, sunshine, and nature without too much danger.
For the religious there is prayer, and for many others meditation. In addition to direct access to the almighty there is a basically unlimited supply of religious music, preaching, religious art, religious reading and access to you fellow believers through phone, video phone, video conference calls, etc.
So to my fellow retired seniors I say, keep active and stay safe.