Getting ‘Out’ to See Friends — Being Creative in Lockdown

Amazing ways to feel connected while still following the rules

Make and share music.

Music can lift us up. Instantly. Playing or listening to the soft sounds (or occasional harshly, maybe humorously, missed notes) can transform.

We can learn from the Italians, hit early and hard by the Coronavirus. For those quarantined to apartments, they opened windows, stepped onto balconies and shared. Play this video below and tell me it doesn’t make you tear up.

Let’s learn from the Italians, sharing music with anyone within earshot

Now …. do you, could you, would you find an instrument in your home to play? Or call up a friend to sing a song together?

I gather the Italians made a practice of going out at 6 PM. If you live in a city, why not start doing this? It only takes a single person to start something. THIS is what the news channels should be telling us to do 10 times a day. Enough on hand washing, we’re doing that already. Enough on death counts and other horrible statistics.

Now SING!!! Or play…. go on!

‘Meeting’ Friends While Still Apart

I had a rough Tuesday. I’ll spare you the details because I’m sure a lot of people had worse ones. I decided to take my dog, Lucy out for a walk. As I was walking I remembered a friend had texted me last night, “How r u?” and I hadn’t answered.

I suddenly realized that I had cell signal even though I was on the side of a mountain and I called her. We hadn’t talked in a couple weeks and this was the perfect time to catch up. We had both recently switched to working at home and we talked about how that was going. We laughed a lot. Interrupted each other, shared concern for family members.

I couldn’t take a photo of myself (using my phone) talking on my phone, so here’s a nice photo by Chevanon Photography from Pexels to give you the idea.

I was, in fact, taking a walk and having a chat with a friend. I had ‘gotten out and met a friend.’

Even though we weren’t technically in the same place, it was fantastic!

One woman said she was surprised by how much better she felt when one evening she set up a Skype session at dinner time to ‘have dinner with her son’ who is living thousands of miles away. She could see what he was eating and ask how it tasted and who had cooked. It was like a normal dinner together conversation.

Play, Collaboration and Having Fun, Together While Apart

Play is fun and I’ve heard it will trigger the release of endorphins and other chemicals needed for good mental health. But playing together, now THAT is something special. Solving challenges — moaning over when you are stuck or had a bit of bad luck. Celebrating the person who unlocks the secret. Wondering if you will complete the challenge. Playing together brings us closer, so here are some ideas for playing together when you are physically apart.

First, what we did. Over the last year or two, my husband, myself and my 92-year-old mom used to do the online version of the Wall St Journal crossword puzzle when we visited her. We’d gather around John’s laptop with a side monitor and work through the puzzle together.

A few days into social-distancing, John was commenting that it would be good if we could still do that. From there we went to asking, ‘Could we still do that?’

Yes, we can. We use the free version of Zoom. John emails my mom the link for the ‘meeting’ and then shares his screen. We’ve done 5 or 6 puzzles this way in anything from 25 to 90 minutes each. By the way, do you know a 5-letter word for ‘Burns a bit’? Me neither. But my mom did. Comment below if you want me to tell you.

My son Dan, me, my mom and hubby John back when we could squeeze in tight together — Photo by John Emerick (via timer)

Words with Friends is a multi-player word game, similar to Scrabble that can be played on Facebook or Kindle Fire, as well as on most smartphones today. It was actually intended to be played by friends in different locations.

Or, if you are looking for something a bit less academic, perhaps more fantasy or game-like? Check out Digital Trends’ — Best Games to Play with Friends Online.

Watching TV or Movies Together

Critics say that watching movies or TV is a waste of time, but I don’t believe that is always true. We all need some relaxation. We all need to think beyond the world around us and have adventure, romance, laughter and inspiration — things readily available in TV or movies.

photo from Dreamstime

It’s especially nice if you can share the experience with someone else — laughing at the same parts, raising your eyebrow when you hear a line you think they might say to you, predicting the winner on a Reality TV show.

In addition to the low-tech option - deciding to watch something at the same time and text while watching, there are some higher-tech options, such as Netflix party, which synchronizes video playback and adds group chat to Netflix shows.

One film organization, The Woodstock Film Festival is offering some online streaming options and ‘virtual conversations’ about movies.

Sharing a Glimpse of You and Where You Are

Now, more than ever, is a great time to take a photo or short video and send via phone or email. Here are a few from my recent days, simple but meaningful to me and enjoyed by my friends.

Flowers outside my door. I wish everyone in the world could start their day with something so beautiful and hopeful.
Stunning horse and view that I ran by (till I stopped for photo). Makes me wish I could paint. Even the horses were practicing social distancing.

Okay… it’s a challenge to connect with family and friends, but I believe the human spirit can and will rise to the occasion. If I ever had a doubt, it vanished when I watched the Italians playing music.

Share this post with a friend and figure out how to ‘get together’ while staying apart.

With Love, Anne

P.S. If you’d like to read other posts by me, you’ll find them here or here’s a bit more about me and books I’ve written. Thanks!

Programmer by day. Author by night. As I put on running tights, I imagine I’m a superhero. Creator of Unemploymentville.com. More on me: https://bit.ly/3tITsb1

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