Sheltering at home is the world upside down. And to tell the truth, I may be a little freaked out, but I’m not bored. I have several options that I take advantage of to keep myself and my wife entertained.
Full disclosure, we watched a lot of tv and movies, on cable tv, Netflix, Amazon Prime, Hulu et al. before the pandemic. We recorded a lot of shows, streaming movies – we just do a little more of it now. We’ve changed up how and when we watch. During the morning, no fun, only news, trying to keep up with the pandemic and hoping for some new information. Dr. Anthony Fauci is my new hero, and he’s even older than I am.
We’ve been doing more binge-watching than we have in the past. We watched all of 10 episodes of season 3 of Ozark (Netflix) in a day and a half (and we were trying to take it slow). We’re currently binging another Netflix show, Giri/Haji (a kind of cops and crooks show that takes place in England and Japan simultaneously. It’s complicated, but the plot grabs you). I’m in the middle of creating a movie list from all the movies available on Netflix, Amazon Prime, Hulu, HBO, Showtime, and Starzz. That’s in addition to movie rentals from the Apple TV movie app and Xfinity On Demand. We’re well covered. My wife favors romantic comedies and comedies, as for me, I prefer Westerns, Science Fiction, and movies that are set in the past or fictional places. i.e., Lord of the Rings, Braveheart-those types. However, and fortunately, there are lots of tv shows and movies we’re both interested in watching, so we mostly end up watching together. The movie list project will be followed by a list of tv series we never watched but can now binge thanks to the streaming apps.
Therefore, we should be in good shape for stuff to watch no matter how long we have to shelter in place. Plus, just making a list is fun.
I read a lot. Not books so much as online newspapers, e-magazines, and websites dedicated to New York sports teams. Each day, I read the Oregonian, our local paper, along with a couple of sports publications to get a sense of what’s going on outside my house. I have several sports sections bookmarked, mostly to keep up on anything to do with the teams of my youth, the New York Yankees, Giants, and Knicks (ugh).
I have a subscription to The Athletic, an e-magazine that does in-depth articles and has a function where a person can “follow” specific teams and sports daily, i.e., I follow the Knicks and the Portland Trail Blazers plus the National Basketball Association. It can consume you when there is basketball, and there’s a decent amount of news now. I spend a lot of time on the Athletic app. I chose the book I’m currently reading, The Natural by Bernard Malamud, because of an article from a series of articles on baseball’s all-time greats and the writer’s personal favorites. He did a piece on Roy Hobbs, who was the protagonist in The Natural. It was a fun read; he presented the character as if he were real, making up statistics, and using events described in the book. It was a very creative way to entertain when baseball is on hiatus. Anyway, I’d read the book in high school; I liked it, so almost 60 years later, I’m rereading it.
One of my favorite ways to spend time is what I call “Rabbit Holing,” otherwise known as going off into the weeds.
To me, the expression “going down the rabbit hole” means getting way off track. And it can be a lot of fun and a great learning experience. I don’t plan to rabbit hole, rabbit holing happens. I do the New York Times Sunday crossword puzzle, or I try to do it. Often, some clues are geographical or historical, which, to me, is an invitation to the rabbit hole. I don’t call it cheating; I call it research because I don’t look up the answers.
Instead, I google a topic that might lead me to the answer, or I guess at the answer and then google my guess to see if I’m right. A couple of weeks ago, there was a clue, something like “a world capital settled by the Vikings.” I already had the letters B and N where they would fit if the answer were Dublin. I googled Dublin, and sure enough, it was settled by the Vikings in the 9th century. However, I didn’t stop there. I read the wiki piece on Dublin, which led to another search based on something I read. Eventually, 2 hours later, I returned to the crossword, having confirmed the answer and learned a lot about Dublin. Visiting Dublin is now on my bucket list. Another example: last week, I was reading about Ty Cobb in the Athletic (#8 on their all-time 100 greatest players). There was a reference to his being suspended for betting on a game, with a link to an article about it. I read the article, which led me to look up Dutch Leonard (the pitcher who turned him in), whom I’d heard of. By the time I returned to the article on Cobb, I had learned about his brief suspension, his reinstatement. I also learned of Dutch Leonard’s career, both during and after baseball, and information about American League commissioner Ban Johnson and his feud with the commissioner of baseball Kenesaw Mountain Landis. Sometimes I read or hear a mention of something, and it interests me, so I spend time researching it. The Internet makes it easy, and for me, at least, it’s a great way to have fun learning stuff that doesn’t matter at all in the grand scheme of things.
Last but not least, there’s music. I gave all my vinyl away when we downsized, but I have about 1200 CDs sitting in our garage. There’s no room for them in the house. But they are all uploaded onto my computer and my iPod. I listen to music, make playlists for my different moods, and for exercising and doing housework. I have an Apple Music student subscription, which enables me to download any music from their website and keep it until I cancel. It’s an inexpensive way for the old dog to learn new musical tricks, listening to artists whom I ignored back in the day or new artists I’d heard about, like Billie Eilish, Lizzo, and others less famous.
All in all, I miss what I miss, but I’m keeping occupied, engaged, and entertained as I shelter with my wife and Cosmo Poodle.
– Edward from McMinnville, Oregon, a FAR customer who is finding purpose in this new stage of his life.
Edward writes for FAR and is also a customer. He is 73-year-old, born and raised in and around New York City. After college and a little graduate school, he took Horace Greeley’s advice and went west. Edward lived in several cities throughout California and currently resides in Oregon. He practiced law for a few years as part of a law collective doing what they called “people’s law,” but spent most of his career working as an internal organizer for the unions.
When Edward’s career ended with the unions, he was determined to become an advocate for older adults. He enrolled at Portland Community College studying Gerontology. He learned a lot about aging and how it applied to his own life experiences and my own aging process. Much of Edward’s writing is related to what he learned in his Gerontology studies.
* The opinions expressed in this article are those of the authors. They do not necessarily reflect the opinions or views of the Finance of America Reverse (LLC).