Meg’s Musings: Coronavirus Edition

Even as the coronavirus pandemic has upended much of how we understand our lives to work, it has made me wonder about a potential good impact:

Will our lives feel more time abundant, now that we can’t go anywhere?

That and another tangentially related item in this edition of Meg’s Musings.

Coronavirus and a Sense of Time Spaciousness

I frequently hear from clients (and friends, and my own inner voice) that they don’t have enough time. How they’d really just loooove to wake up on a Saturday morning, stretch their arms languidly above their heads, and muse to themselves: Hmmm, I wonder what I’ll do today? And how they never ever feel that way.

These clients, hell, we all would love to find a way to work fewer hours, or only 4 days instead of 5, or shorten our commute. We would love to be able to foist some of the chores and bureaucratic BS off our plates onto well, we don’t care, as long as it’s not taking up our time anymore.

We have so many fundamentally simple things we want to do with their time—Create something! Garden! Read! Spend time with our children! Cook! Hike!—and we feel we can’t.

We have to work. We have to clean the house. We have to menu plan and grocery shop. We have to commute. We want to go out with friends. We want to go to a movie or play. We have to go to the DMV.

Enter #socialdistancing and #stayhome.

Likely you still have to do your job. But now you’re at home. You don’t commute. You don’t go out to happy hour or to dinner or to lunch (or at least, you shouldn’t). You can’t travel anywhere.

Is the pandemic a covert experiment in “What do we do when we actually do have the time?”

Does our creative mind take a while to turn back on, after being beaten into submission over years by the greedy time-eating monster that is modern life?

After a week of no commutes, no going outside the house except to deep breathe or exercise…will we start to settle into a sense of more time spaciousness? Will we feel it? Will we simply fill it back up because we “need” to feel busy and “productive”? Will we wake up on a Saturday morning, stretch our arms languidly above our heads and muse out loud, “I wonder what I’ll do today?”

(And for all you parents of young kids who now have to work and simultaneously care for stuck-at-home children…clearly I don’t mean you.)

Creation Versus Consumption

Modern life is all about consumption. You consume social media. Amazon is the biggest (“successful”?) experiment in consumption in human history. We love ourselves some fancy restaurant food. Beautiful tech gadgets or furniture or clothing…it’s all. about. Consuming. Pretty much every app helps you consume.

When I visited Disneyland 2-ish years ago, I was struck not just by the utter lack of food that wouldn’t make my colon cry, but also by the immense creativity on display there. It was amazing. Only problem? The sole job of all us visitors was to consume that creative product, not to create anything ourselves.

Where has creation gone?

From the very prosaic “I will sew this button back onto this shirt” to “I will try my hand at making pad thai at home” to “I will write my own poem” to “I’m going to make a bench with these very two hands.”

I’m definitely throwing rocks from a glass house here. I spend way too much time on screens. Hell, reading a paper book is still an act of consumption, not creation, and that’s just about my favorite way to spend my leisure time. (By contrast, my husband continually amazes me in this regard. He makes books. As in, writes the story, or takes the photographs, and then physically creates the book. What is that? And where can I get some?)

I hope for all of us, myself definitely included, is that we can start swinging the pendulum a wee bit back towards the creation end of things. I think it feeds our souls. It will also, I suspect, help our finances and Mother Nature.

Maybe #stayhome is an unasked-for opportunity to start practicing?

If you, too, are prone to rumination, please reach out to me and schedule a free consultation.

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Disclaimer: This article is provided for general information and illustration purposes only. Nothing contained in the material constitutes tax advice, a recommendation for purchase or sale of any security, or investment advisory services. I encourage you to consult a financial planner, accountant, and/or legal counsel for advice specific to your situation. Reproduction of this material is prohibited without written permission from Meg Bartelt, and all rights are reserved. Read the full Disclaimer.

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Flow Financial Planning, LLC is a Registered Investment Advisor in the States of Washington, California, and New York.

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