With the Pandemic ever present, many of us have had more free time than we ever had before, so how are we using it? While teaching, I emphasized being a Life-Long Learner, and I think that is important to fully enjoy our lives and keep our brain alert. I recently started asking friends what they had learned during this stay-at-home time about themselves, about relationships, or academically, which led to interesting conversations.

With additional time at home, I spend more breakfast time leisurely reading the newspaper while listening to the news. Since neither of us is rushing off to a meeting or activity, my husband and I discuss or comment on current issues. I have read more books, watched more documentaries, played more Hearts on my I-pad, and deliberately connected with more friends and family by phone across the United States. I have learned that even acquaintances I hardly know enjoy a random phone visit. Although I eagerly anticipate our back to normal time, I have learned that, with my husband beside me plus telephone and Wi-Fi service, I could, if need be, live contentedly in a rural area with minimum physical contact because I could stay busy with things I enjoy. 

While most of my reading is for enjoyment, interesting stories and characters, I do enjoy the weightier World War II books, biographies, and autobiographies. A friend recommended “The Only Woman in the Room,” the biography of Hedy Lemar and her inventor side, which was fascinating. I enjoyed the true story, “We Were the Lucky Ones.” Currently I am reading a book an early childhood friend sent me: “Waking Up White.” Since my childhood in the South was different from the author’s, I have difficulty understanding how she formulated her beliefs about race, but I am enjoying the book. For me, reading things I disagree with is part of keeping up with world issues and staying in touch with friends who have different views from mine. I have said more than once, “If everyone were like me, it would be a boring world.” 

Reading an unfamiliar word in the newspaper, I became conscious of the new words I had learned in the last months. The Family Circus cartoon had Billy hiking with his parents and gazing at the landscape. When the parent commented on the cataract before them, he said, “Cataract? Is that what Gramma had in her eye?” As I studied the one panel, I knew the word must have something to do with water. Passing it to my husband for his interpretation was not helpful, so I looked cataract up for an alternate meaning: waterfall, deluge. Talking with a friend, I asked if she knew another definition for cataract besides the one in the eye. Immediately she said, “Waterfall.” When I said I had never heard that, her reply was, “Obviously your husband is not an outdoorsman.” 

When I followed up by asking about another new word for me, “derecho,” she knew that one, too, since her husband is from the Midwest. The word had appeared in the news detailing the destruction from the derecho during the previous week, so I had assumed it was a hurricane force wind. Several friends, who are well read, did not know that word, and my 2000 Random House Webster’s College Dictionary does not list derecho. That made me feel better.

What have you learned? In Coronado, we have interesting stories waiting to be told. Send me a short paragraph of something you have learned. Send me a short paragraph of something you have learned. Email your responses to lindalaustin12@gmail.com and let me know if I may use your name or only first name for an article. Your quests for knowledge or interesting outlets may inspire someone else. From the replies, we can all learn even more.

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