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Op-ed: In the midst of COVID, you got this!

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By Bob Hall

I don’t know about you, but this self-quarantining thing has its ups and downs. It’s a nice option in the morning to choose which sweatpants to put on and then decide how many episodes of Tiger King to re-watch. The prospect of staying inside for the next few weeks, well …

Yes, I have a long list of goals for this downtime: read Ulysses; subscribe to one of those

Instagram-advertised learn-Italian-in-a-month programs; finally skin to the lake at Beehive Basin. Of course, I have accomplished none of the above. Perhaps I’d better get on Amazon and order the book (is it an essential item?!).

I have observed a couple of things quarantining on the side of a ski hill. First of all, it sucks. The lifts aren’t spinning and the skinning looks damned good up on the peak. Doesn’t April 1 mean we hear robins singing and see the forsythia blooming? Nope, more snow!

Beyond these frustrations, I have learned a couple things:

Try to limit your news watching to one hour a day and remember the network news services are based in New York at Ground Zero for this pandemic. If I was Lester Holt and walked through an empty city with the constant blare of sirens, I’d be scared too.

If your first priority is email, you are screwed. You can’t possibly keep up with the endless stream in your inbox and you’ll feel like you are constantly behind.

You might be lucky enough to have some or all of your family at the dinner table. While it gets

a bit rote, relish the moments after the meal is complete and the dishes AREN’T cleared. It’s a great time to philosophize, reminisce or emote your frustrations.

It’s amazing how good you feel doing something for someone else. Maybe it’s leaving a $20 bill in a tip jar for our intrepid workers at our grocery stores. Perhaps it’s helping a small business navigate the thorny process of applying for relief funds or simply talking a friend off the temporary ledge and having them feel better about life. Any small gesture will improve your perspective about your own plight.

What a time to connect with an old friend or merely an acquaintance. Any past barriers have been broken down, and there’s no explaining needed for why you haven’t been in touch; even a simple text shows you care. It’s amazing what you can accomplish by scrolling through the contacts on your phone.

And you know what’s going to happen, right? The quarantine will be lifted and we are all going to say, “Where did the time go?” Why don’t you work backwards (now I don’t know if that is from May 1 or June 15) and make a list of what you would like to accomplish? Make things attainable, maybe setting up a Zoom call with your high school buddies, make scones for the first time, or head to Fawn Pass for a crust cruise.

What a time we are collectively living through. Wow! As Teddy Roosevelt recounted, “It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong person stumbles or where the doer of deeds could have done better. The credit goes to the one who is actually in the arena.”

Folks, we are all in the area. Build on this adversity. You and greater Big Sky will be better for it. Remember: You got this!

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