Solitude, Maine, Coronovirus. Sheltering in place.
“Alone together”, “social distancing” all takes practice to develop the skill. Presidents, movie stars, writers, artists, families, farmers, fishermen and lumber jacks. They all selected Vacationland as a destination long before Maine even became a state in 1820. Maine’s unspoiled natural resources and remoteness considered perks. In 1878, Teddy Roosevelt got the historic spot put on the map where he daily opened the good book at Bible Point near where I live in Maine. Teddy the rough rider relished solitude mixed with a good adventure.
Not everyone is hand stand happy being alone or trapped in just small groups for long stretches of solitude time.
Peace and quiet. You seem to need it most when it is missing or in very short supply right? Older people eagerly seek it out more than the go go go younger generation that find the pace way too slow. Easy does it thinking and moderation? Boring to young grasshoppers. Why would you want to live life in the slow lane and do that? Many avoid alone at all costs or just never never had the opportunity to give it a whirl. The coronovirus “shelter in place” mandates started out with a no thank you helping to see how you liked it. Before “they’re HHhhhhh-here” (the coronovirus punk spiked head cells) announced by our Maine media. Like the long blond haired little girl in the early hours watching the static on the TV in her parent’s bedroom.
The coronovirus news at first like a far away asteroid that might or might not hit Earth’s surface.
Let’s wait and see if stricter measures are needed that impact our lives even deeper. Still wrapping up the end of winter weather as the news reporters provided the coronovirus play by play. We caught things out of the corner of our eyes and bits and piece with our ears. Local life as we knew it still held its distraction. We had time for the get ready, cause here she comes. Given just a taste of rein it in and stay at home as the World news story unfolded. While the country’s eyes and ears watched and listened in the dress rehearsal study on our media news channels. How to flatten the curve, head deeper into quarantine to protect others and yourself.
Ramping up to apply stricter measures here in the states as we circled the wagons. Adjusting, processing what was handled right or poorly in other concentrated hot spot areas as the coronovirus picked up steam. Reacting slowly to what we all watched play out for infection rate spread and body counts across the pond and beyond. Mainstream media and arguing politicians, a scared population all helping or hurting the new culture shaping around us.
Just how we felt on any given day about the virus news can vacillates from “we got this” to not so sure as things drag on. As solitude, alone time racking up the hours deepens. As ventilator production increased by local economies stalled. Consumer confidence dipping and the restrictive stay at home, shelter in place mandates caused take a number, have a seat. And if you don’t mind, can you wait out on the curb? No we don’t have a drive through window. Yet.
Alone. Solitude. By yourself and feeling cut off.
Non stop solitude, alone, eerie quiet time. That never ending alone time is sure not going to improve anyone’s mental state already suffering from depression anxiety.
Like people new at retirement. Great for the first month, not so easy after that milestone. What to do with your time? How to develop a new routine when you enjoyed the last one before COVID19 took over. Thinking about stepping back six feet or more, putting on rubber gloves and sliding the mask into place. Hey, don’t touch your face and how long did you wash your hands? Two times singing the Happy Birthday song? Health safety, loss of jobs and spending more time alone before it became an ever tightening condition. To protect yourself and others around you from catching or spreading the COVID 19 virus. How to be alone is a skill. Some run from it or when it happens, thoughts about yourself emerge that are not so pleasant. Any skill, being alone too takes practice for some, is old hat to others.
Folks who live in Maine definitely already spoiled with all this wide open scenic space due to the sparse population.
The local Maine natives are all adjusted to the slower pace. People in cities crave what Maine is loaded with for clean water, fresh air, the wildlife out numbering people. The city mouse equally love love love what we don’t have too. Little traffic, no crowds, zip for pollution. Plus you can see the amazing night sky loaded with brilliant stars overhead you did not know existed. Add in no high cost of living and our small town friendliness. That most locals more than willing to help out anyone needing the shirt off your back. Especially during quarantine lock down to prevent the coronovirus spread and flatten the curve in our small Maine towns.
Every true Mainer has jumper cables ready to open wide and muckle them on to your dead battery terminals Chummy. Just raise a hood and look at your watch because he comes an army of helpers. Red’s positive. Maybe this can of dry gas will help. No I want any of your money. It’s on the house. You don’t have to look far to see the helpers when tragedy strikes in small Maine towns. Ask any cancer victim who are blown away with the generosity of local community members who town wide pitch in collectively,.
How fast we adapt and mentally how quickly the stay at home procedures snap into place time wise definitely not the same for all the players.
Some still contending we need our kids to test and build up their immunity and it’s just a little cough, a new flu to you. Still thinking too big a deal is being made over one new powerful virus cell. Others Chicken Little sky is falling but rightfully scared and protective of loved ones and community members alike. Where do you fall, somewhere in between or depends on the day? Most people want to protect an elderly family member, a child with a medical condition, a single parent neighbor that can not handle catching and no matter what the surviving odds of the coronovirus.
Maine. We get in gear to tighten it up to protect others who need it most. It’s not about me but about others. Small town communities don’t leave anyone behind either. Maybe some just enjoy their own solitude and company more than being with others. It depends on the “others” and the back and forth in conversations if educational or inspiring or tedious, maybe slanderous. Like sleepovers as a kid, the magic runs its course. You look forward to getting home to your head in own bed and the familiar household routine. Lack of sleep or three’s a crowd can speed the need to get along home tired little doggie.
When you live in rural Maine life is is more time spent with just me myself and I anyway.
Why? Growing up in the country is like that. Because just less people spread over a very vast state of Maine with only a handful of cities. The deeper you travel into the heart of Maine’s interior and northern, eastern western regions, the greater the solitude meter spikes. It helps if you are introverted. Focused on projects and being self directed means the isolation is not wasted but filled with productive measures. Mainers need the solitude and alone time to do their best work without distractions or anyone butting in to take over. Or to steal the joy from the room because they would not have done it that way, just saying. Toxic, critical negative people don’t help your creative spirit when you possess fire in our belly passion.
When you are curtailed from this former uses of your time, we Mainers quickly adapt and shift the focus. To other areas of our life needing attention. We don’t just sit on our hands or stew or fret. We do the best we can with what we are given to work with all the days of our life. Make a difference. Tackle some worthwhile project for the greater good to make matters better than they were. For those that log more miles up the pike, you either enter pure heaven, get bored out of my skull or stuck in the middle some place. It becomes a simple case of now you have lots of time to pursue what was missing in your life. Or suddenly way way too much time on your hands to fill and running low on suggestions.
Ever been to Downeast Maine? The upper sections totally different take away experience than the busy tourist attractions around Wells, York, Kennebunkport coastal beach regions. Ditto up in the St John River Valley of Maine.
Solitude, being alone is not a prison sentence and is a break to step back and reflect living in Maine.
Meditation is cleansing and when you come back to your daily life routine it is with new vigor and purpose. But moderation works both ways. Too much of a good thing. Is that a bad thing? Quiet and calm helps a mind take a break. Relaxing it and putting it off the clock parked. To clear the way for deeper thought. Like the Tibetan monks who climbed to a mountain perch where the air is thin and the din of life noise is missing. Quiet removes the distraction that robs the discovery of life’s meaning. Getting off the beaten path to rest along your life journey is not easy for those with overbooked lives and deadlines, financial obligations. At least you are home not because you wear an ankle bracelet right? No crime committed to force you there but rather dictated by common sense and a Governor’s statewide decree.
Many feel guilty for time spent not doing something or juggling multiple tasks.
You are not useless. Enjoying just one thing and totally immersed with no sense of time is healthy. Nothing tugging at you deemed more important means folks dependent on you don’t enjoy your slip below radar though. Solitude can feel like you suddenly have control over your life rather than others running it to meet their needs. And lots of the jobs we do are one man ones. For years folks in crowded population areas fell in lub dub in love with Maine due to all this unspoiled wide open and wooded space. You can breathe easier, hear yourself think. But alone, space, time to ponder life events, the past relationships and future plans once we all get to the other side of the coronovirus pandemic. That can be sobering but way over due because you’re a whiz at multi tasking and spread way too thin.
Less money to run the roads, more time to do projects at home around the Handy Man Special house.
The one that takes lifetime to complete but no hurry. Pay as you go. Take your time before rushing in wham bam thank you ma-am. That simple living in rural Maine in a nut shell. Work from home is nothing new. Mainers are jack of all trades and master of a few. Or they know someone locally who can take up the slack with a favor or two called in. Or barter exchange of a skill or product they can add to the scratch your back right back at you. In small rural Maine you are challenged to be more hands on and less dependent on others. Our kids are raised to not be helpless and to pitch in to be helpers. Volunteering is huge in small towns which Maine is for the most part.
Being alone, spending time with yourself.
Solitude. Reading a good book and self education. Documentaries on great people who came before us. The history channel visited for perspective and wisdom. What else are the benefits to being alone? If you are too busy, the stop to smell the roses advice would do a body good. Stress is removed. Too busy to make time for yourself? Like to be productive? Can’t sit still and ants in your pants? Nervous in the service? What are the benefits of solitude, time away from others? Lots.
Patience. Focus. Grit. When you set aside time for just you, for self maintenance it is not narcissistic. Especially if after reading, adding to a journal or blogging (HA!). Or time on your knees in the garden planting, weeding, watering or reaping the seeds you show at harvest time. Gratitude is riches.
If you step back from a circle of friends, sporting buddies, your church family, co-workers or whoever, your compassion for others increases.
Your small friends circle you hang out with gets broadened during a coronovirus pandemic to include new people concerned about each day.
Empathy for others in your small Maine home town besides yourself is healthy. People with bigger problems than you come into the picture and you realize how lucky you really are to be connected. Being alone forces you to take stock in all the areas and people in your life to be grateful for… dead or alive. Some people are less irritating when you have more space between you too.
I don’t know about you but I’m thinking more about my parents that are both gone and how lucky I was to have them in my life.
What they taught the four boys in my family was the primer for what I tried to instill in my own four kids. I think time alone, solitude helps you increase empathy, compassion and appreciation for others. Helping others is very contagious in a good way. It causes folks watching on the sidelines to pitch in and do more too for the greater good of your small rural Maine town.
Also, when you are in the work place and it is tempting to stop in to shoot the breeze with Charlie or Louise, productivity suffers. When you are left to your own devices, working from home, less time is wasted at the water cooler away from your job. Home schoolers will tell you how much time is wasted in public education. Maine had about 5000 of them before everyone turned to home schooling thanks to our little friend COVID19. Time getting up and out the door waiting for the bus, the long journey to school and back. The between period bells ringing to shuffle out in the slow moving school hall educational turnpike eats up time. So does carrying a lunch tray or opening up the brown bag to much a bunch at lunch.
You have more free time to use the way you want when it is just you in the picture.
If you are self disciplined to motivate yourself to stay on task. You have no up to thirty other students surrounding you to catch a cold or the flu bug or whatever is going around. No class clown to slow down the what you learned in school today. People are great but too many of them hurt productivity. Many do better when they can dial in the pace they listen, watch and learn.
What’s that? You say you are a social butterfly? Man and woman are social beings. But if you never spend time alone, you get no break from people. Alone can be less stressful. A time to unplug and recharge. What do you do for fun that involves no one else? That is where you find a source of happiness and contentment. Self love is not the same as hedonism. Keeping something for your own enjoyment is not selfish. The practice helps avoid the running ragged. The too much going out and nothing for personal satisfaction coming back in for a deposit to your life account.
They say kids do better with alone time.
Especially when a correction is needed and you are told by both parents with a unified front telling you to go to your room. To think long and hard about what you did and why not to do it again. Consequences for bad decision making are the lessons in life if allowed to sink in slowly. If warned up front what the expectations are and what will happen if you come up short. Rather than blame the parent for their misfortune, the kid takes ownership for their negative actions. There are some coronovirus lessons in the household. Plus family dynamics come into play with long stretches of isolation and feeling cut off despair. Solitude does not have to feel like a death sentence. It’s up to everyone of us to make it something productive and enlightening.
Me time, soaking in a bathtub, reading a book. Painting a picture. Paddling a kayak on a bottle smooth glassy Maine lake or pond. Walking through the Maine woods and come up on wildlife, smelling the forest greenery. Slow cooking a meal that you savor. Knitting, doing a puzzle, quilting, flying fishing ties. Playing solitaire. Riding a bike or cross country skiing, ice skating, playing pond hockey. Peering into a crackling fire. Teaching yourself how to play guitar or heck to build one. Restoring an antique car, setting up a woodworking shop.
What do you want to do for fun that is self empowering or will help your small local Maine community?
Don’t be bashful. Step up to the plate to write a blog grand or start a new organization or prop up an existing one. There is not shortage of things to do in a small rural Maine town when it comes to volunteer service work.
Writing a novel or the lyrics to a song. Hammering out the tune to that tune.
All the things you just never seemed to have time for suddenly there is a slot for all of it. Too much free time scary for you? There is plenty to do making a living or drawing up a budget. Your expenses are the easiest way to generate more money from better use of your hard earned resources. Mainers go up to camp to get rid of cabin fever when they’ve been cooped up at home too long. That’s how we remove the cobwebs and get the blood pumping. We crave solitude. We are grateful to live in Maine. The coronovirus just drives the point home a little deeper.
Like exercise and eight glasses of water a day and time away from stress or sitting on a couch plugged into the boob tube. Time alone is what is needed to follow up on your day dreams. To pursue something beyond work or any self medication addiction like retail therapy. Maybe gambling, over the counter drugs, too much alcohol or other unhealthy cravings to cure what ails you all boils down to no time alone. To turn off and shut down everything whirling around you that distracts and robs what is real and fruitful, not store bought and artificial.
Maybe solitude and time spent alone is what is missing and to be embraced during a coronovirus. Be wicked smaarht about it Mister Man. We’ll get through better than most due to our frugal simple living in Maine lifestyle. No frills but loaded with everything worthwhile and important.
Solitude, time alone lets you reflect, to step outside your busy life and look at things from another angle.
What’s it all about Alfie? Vacations once a year are not nearly enough to take a personal look at how your life is playing out and where are you headed self analysis. Who you are, what you want to become just not just happen on its own. Others don’t define your life unless you are busy following and a copy cat. That’s not original.
You are the best person to play the role of you if this was a documentary.
If this was your life under the microscope. The problems causing road rage to build up makes people not their best. Invading your personal space, going without elbow room for too long takes it toll. If you think you are powerless to make time for yourself, maybe that is one of the biggest benefits of a coronovirus pandemic. As we fight the coronovirus all together alone, other areas of your life get a total shake up and make over. Never had time before. Learning patience, practicing forgiveness. Not the challenge to find new ways to live life until a nasty virus invades your mind and your small Maine community. Now there’s plenty of time solitude, Maine living during the coronovirus arrival in our lives.
Solitude, Maine, Coronovirus. Time alone can make you more creative, to force yourself to entertain yourself.
To learn what makes you tick and why. Time alone with yourself can remove the distractions that are the barriers to self exploration. What are you afraid of and is the silence deafening? Turn up the music you want to hear. No one to make a snide comment that they can’t believe anyone listens to this rubbish. No guilt, no conformity to fit into the group when it is like Tom Hanks with Wilson to talk to day in and out. You are not on a deserted island, still connected from a distance and it takes creative spirit and common sense to not catch or spread the COVID19 virus.
Everything will be alright the words your parents used to help you not worry right?
Make good come out of the coronovirus and don’t waste the restrictions on our life but use them to enhance it in new creative ways. We are well on our way through this COVID19 pandemic. Hardships and setbacks show what you are made of and define you if you rise to the occasion. If you can stay kind and considerate. Looking out for others in your area that need food, a handwritten note or regular phone call, a text. Staying connected is nothing new in small tightly put together small Maine towns. We are used to and crave solitude, Maine, coronovirus or not.
Be safe, be careful and make it six feet by six feet or more all around you plus the rest of the best practices coronovirus protocol.
So everything will be alright. Keep moving mentally to get through the coronovirus pandemic wherever you are in Maine or out of state, the country. Pass on lessons for your kids who can’t seem to conquer boredom as easily or that long for the way it was. Coping skills and Winston Churchill frankness about spelling out what we need to do to mentally and physically survive. Things are not going to return to quite the same way like snapping your fingers quickly or at al. Normal is going to be tdifferent and that can be a good thing if approached from new directions. Solitude can be empowering as we spend time alone together and learn the best ways to avoid fear and anxiety coping with the coronovirus pandemic.