We’re now approaching almost a year and a half since the 2020 Pandemic started. Putting all of the negative consequences of enforced isolation behind us, most people are beginning to exit from their cocoons and are trying to re-adjust to “normal” living.
It has been a long siege but for many retirees like us it hasn’t been so painful. We were already used to having every day feel like a weekend so when the months just rolled by so quickly, it wasn’t such a terrible ordeal. I believe the survival formula is to stay busy, do daily exercise, become a good cook if you weren’t already, and stay in touch with your friends and relatives (even if it’s by Zoom).
We have been living in a South Florida family community for over twenty years. It wasn’t unusual to see people moving in and out of our neighborhood during this time whom we had never known, but surprisingly in the past year, we have been getting to know more neighbors than ever before. We now go on our early morning walks with a person who has lived down the block for as long as we’ve been here, but we hardly knew her or her husband.
To keep things from getting boring, we’ve been trying to vary our morning exercise routine. My wife has been trying for years to get me to go swimming in the community pool which is just a few minutes away. It is warm and well-maintained, and early in the morning, there’s hardly ever anyone there. I had always resisted going there because I didn’t want to bump into patients asking me for medical advice while I was trying to relax.
At least once a week, we’ve been trying to go to the beach. The closest one is about 20 minutes away and if we get there early, there’s almost no one there. Recently, there has been someone learning Tai Chi. The ocean temperature is about 83 (perfect for me) but there have been some riptides and more seaweed than usual. Pure relaxation!
For as long as we’ve lived here, we’ve had a two-person kayak. During the past year, we have taken it out on the lake more times than during the past twenty years. It is so relaxing out in the middle of the lake which stretches over a mile through many of the neighborhoods in our community.
While kayaking, we have seen a different picture of many of the interesting places within our community. Some people have done extensive landscaping in their backyards, making us regret that we had done nothing except planting a mango and a papaya tree just in the past three months. If we had done this 20 years ago, we would be enjoying our harvests and could be sharing our bounty with our neighbors.
One day last week as we were kayaking through an adjacent neighborhood, we saw some women knocking down ripe mangoes from their trees. As we rowed closer to the shore, they called out to us and asked us if we wanted some. They were some of the most delicious mangoes we had had in a long time. And we met some very friendly neighbors in the process.
Our two-story house has been a blessing. In our second-floor office, both my wife and I have our main computers, but since the Pandemic, I’ve taken over the kitchen table with my laptop. I feel inspired to write when I am looking out over the lake where I frequently observe such diverse wildlife activity. (Check out the following link for a previous post: https://sincerelydrdan.com/2020/10/23/our-daily-wildlife-show/)
Just outside on our patio, we have a covered area which protects us from the sun. We have had 90% of our meals out there since the Pandemic started. For a while, we enjoyed bringing our breakfasts out on the second-floor balcony just outside our bedroom. We loved to fantasize that we were on a cruise having our meals on our stateroom balcony.
When it became hotter and more humid a few months ago, we returned to the cool shade of the downstairs table. Not a day goes by that we don’t see one of our feathered friends walking or flying past us as we enjoy our meals.
“Can you believe that we used to pay for those excursions on a cruise just to see a couple of birds?” my wife loves to ask. By the time we would go out on a visit to a bird sanctuary or a nature preserve, they would all be within the shade of their favorite trees and frustratingly difficult to observe.
I used to believe that it was only while traveling that I would learn more about the world we live in. Adjusting to the Pandemic has reminded me that if I keep an open-minded attitude, the old adage, “There’s no place like home,” rings true once again.