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Coronavirus: Readers tell us how they are coping day to day
Palm Beach Post - 3/26/2020
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We're mostly stuck at home. And we are definitely not used to it.
We're used to an active lifestyle. Exercising at the gym. Hitting the beach. Visiting friends. Dining out. Seeing a movie. Even going to work.
So, as the coronavirus creeps in its petty pace from day to day, we wanted to know how our Post readers are coping. And if you have any suggestions on how to get through this.
You told us that you're doing everything from binge-watching more TV (aren't we all!) to taking daily, restorative walks (while keeping 6 feet from your neighbors.)
You're catching up on long-ignored home projects, and playing more games.
And you're worried -- especially about the family you can only keep in touch with via text or phone.
Thanks so much for writing to us. We're all a little nervous, and we hope by sharing your stories, it brings us a little closer together.
'We want to go back to being retired, not tired!'
When you are accustomed to leading an active life, it is difficult, in an instant, to change all that. Coronavirus has changed the world. I am extremely fortunate that I live with my husband, of almost 49 years, and we still like each other! We retired about 6 years ago, moved to Florida and have been living our dream life.
Then the coronavirus appeared. Like so many others have done, we had to curtail our activities. We are constantly worried about our children, grandchildren and family, who still live in New York. Anxiety, concern and news updates have made life exhausting. I'm just plain tired!
Previously, our days consisted of pickleball, tennis, zumba, line dancing, canasta, mah jongg and eating out. Our social calendar was always full.
Today our main concern is keeping healthy and trying to fill the days with new activities. Being somewhat of a germaphobe and living with a kind of OCD, my closets are already organized, my drawers are neat as a pin and my house is always in order. So those usual resolutions were not applicable.
I have cooked dinner for seven nights in a row, which I have never done in 49 years of marriage. Eating out or bringing in food has always been part of our entertainment. Luckily my husband likes my cooking!
We have been taking 2 long walks a day. Once in the morning and once at night. It's amazing how many people you meet, and the nice conversations you can have standing 6 feet apart!
Reading has always been a popular activity for us. Coincidentally, I am reading a book "Talking Back to OCD" and my husband is rereading the series, "Life As We Knew It" because it seemed so relevant. Napping is also an important activity, so that we have the strength to do that evening walk!
Watching TV is also a good way to spend time. We binge watch shows like "Outlander," "Better Call Saul," "Grace and Frankie," "The Baker and the Beauty" and "This is Us." My husband loves old movies and has recently watched "The Dirty Dozen, "Lawrence of Arabia" and the original "Star Trek" movie. (He has seen it about 7 times) I'm more of a romantic comedy person. I watched "Under the Tuscan Sun", "Yentl", and Funny Girl".
Our favorite activity, however, is FaceTiming our grandkids. They are ages, 4, 5, 8, 14 and 17. It is wonderful, in this modern age, that we can keep in touch while we are missing them and concerned about their health and safety. I have continued my volunteer work for the 211 Sunshine Reassurance Program. I spend a few hours a week calling senior citizens to make sure that they are OK.
I haven't yet used my coloring book and colored pencils but that time will probably come soon, I'm hoping that we can soon go back to being retired instead of just tired! Be well, be safe and be optimistic that this nightmarewill be over soon.
– Elaine Myers, West Palm Beach
'Will I lose my job? Will my elderly parents catch this?'
How am I living in the midst of the coronavirus pandemic? Anxious, as in, extreme anxiety. I am a creature of habit and I dislike change and lack of stability. I work in a major local hospital and every single day I have worked there has been a change in procedures. We have to avoid this floor, we can't go in this entrance, we can only take these elevators, we have to wear this type of mask, we shouldn't wear masks in the hallway, etc, etc, etc.
When they closed the schools...it only added to the stress of how I was going to be able to work as a single mother of a 10 year old daughter. Will I lose my job? Will I have food? Will I lose my house AGAIN?! Will my elderly parents catch this? Will they die? What if I die and my daughter has no mother? What if everything is shut down for months? How will everyone make it past this without losing everything?
It has not been easy. My stress has decreased from extreme to moderate. I had a telehealth conference with a psychologist, I went for a walk with my daughter. Neighbors were doing the same. I'm binge watching all "The Bachelor" episodes I recorded. I still don't know who he chose!
I'm cleaning out my closet and doing my taxes. I'm trying to figure out all the virtual learning platforms. I'm looking for other work options to avoid financial distress. Hopefully this will be over soon! I can't wait to have my life back! That is what I miss the most, stability.
– Celia Gonzalez, western Delray Beach
Working with family photos keeps us busy
During this very strange time, my husband and I are remaining at home. We try to approach this as an opportunity to attack some old projects.
My husband, George Greider, is preparing a trove of many, many fifty-year-old black and white photographs of Columbus, Ohio, to be given to the Ohio Historical Society. The scans each require work to bring them up to display quality. When he finishes the individual photos, he will make a group of them into a book.
I am working on my father's pictures from the WWII European Theater taken during 1945/46 when he served as a member of the Military Railway Operating Battalion. There are over 75 pictures which show destruction and horror across Europe as well as daily living arrangements of the GI's. I hope to create a book to be handed down in our family.
Well, that's the plan. I hope we can keep up morale and stay focused on our projects.
I'm glad you asked this question. The Post really is like family!
– Gayle Kranz, Boynton Beach
'Trying to help our planet and community'
We are enjoying this rare, but very appreciated slowdown in our lives with family fitness and fun. Doing an outside activity each day. Mostly filled with pickleball, trail runs and paddleboarding this week. We have also been doing trash clean ups at the beach (before they closed) and clean ups in our neighborhood. Being thankful for our health, enjoying this time together and trying to help our planet & community.
– Kristine Kerr, Palm Beach Gardens
Texting friends, games and house cleaning projects
I'm a 76-year-old competitive swimmer who trains with a coach six days a week. Three days a week, I hit the gym for dry land exercises. Four days a week, I practice yoga. In addition, I walk one or two miles three or four times a week and volunteer two days a week at our local elementary school to tutor two second graders in reading.
All this came to a screeching halt on February 4th when I broke my right ankle. After five plus weeks in a boot, I was cleared to resume my lifestyle. Would a month training be enough to prepare me for the United States Masters Spring Championships in San Antonio or the YMCA Masters Nationals in Orlando? I got back into swimming just twice before the county pools were closed. I got to the gym twice before they, too, were closed. It wasn't long after than USMS canceled their spring championship meet. I have yet to hear about the Y Nationals.
Meanwhile, I have changed my lifestyle due to coronavirus. I'm one of the lucky ones who has a little pool in my backyard. It takes just nine strokes to get across it, but I'm concentrating on improving my flip turns. I have weights at home, so can continue some of my dry land exercises. Because my ankle swells, I limit my walking to just four blocks.
The rest of the day I attempt to fill with things I rarely have time for: creative use of pantry items that have been there too long; texting to friends, "Did you see the mayor's message about the commission meeting?" or "Look at page 14 of Parade Magazine for that pickled red onion recipe we both liked at BJ's"; housecleaning projects I have neglected like sealing all the granite and marble, washing all the dusty glass in the china cabinets; writing to our grandsons; watching a good movie on TV.
There are some things I continue as usual. My husband and I play Rummikub each afternoon in hopes of saving our brains and we watch the evening news.
But what really keeps me sane is reading. I have always been an avid reader and currently I'm reading a book that reminds me of how good I have it, in spite of the isolation. The book is "Beneath A Scarlet Sky," by Mark Sullivan and describes the life of one person in Italy from June 1943 until May 1945. Believe me, we are the lucky ones!
– Lynn Foley, Lake Worth Beach
'Trying and worrisome times'
I said to my wife last night, "This really doesn't change our life too much."
We are both retired and spend most of our days together, or at least in our condo doing separate things. I might twiddle around with something and she might go to the pool.
In the last week, our building closed the gym. She and I always do some kind of exercise each morning. I'd go for a walk outside and she'd ride a stationary bike in the gym. If the weather was good, we'd go for a bike ride.
Whatever we did, we did for an hour. That's 3 miles of walking or 10 miles of biking.
Not having the gym available and not being able to dine out are the biggest changes. Otherwise, not much has changed.
We are mostly concerned for our 5 kids and 8 grandkids who live all along the east coast. They tell us they are OK and being safe.
We are disheartened by the cavalier attitude of some people who feel they are invincible. Perhaps they are, but those that they visit may not be.
These are trying and worrisome times. I just wish everyone would pay attention to the medical experts and less so to our denying administration.
– Jim Reidy, Palm Beach
Reading Bible provides comfort, solace
As an artist and writer I know how to entertain myself, having spent the last thirty years writing and painting, two solitary and totally satisfying occupations. As to reaching out and possibly finding something to do during this pandemic when we are staying at home more, I recommend something that I did several years ago that profoundly impacted my life and gave me a wonderful reassuring knowledge of what life is really all about.
While I had been given a base of faith early in life that provided me with a strong sense of morality, two years ago I decided to read the Bible from cover to cover through the Old as well as the New Testament. While the Old is heavily laced with religious history and lots of blood and gore, the New Testament gives a wonderful understand of what God wants in our lives. More fully understanding this, I received a higher knowledge of not only the purpose of life but also guidelines as to what God promises through all the traumatic and profoundly disturbing calamities that are coming our way...I am far from perfect and possess a wicked sense of humor, but I also value new deeper understanding and the direction that my thoughts and actions take as I go through this deadly virus along with family and cherished friends. And what a blessing it has been to spend the past thirty years living in this glorious paradise called Palm Beach. I am truly blessed.
– Sandra Thompson, Atlantis
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