The only thing that all life on the planet has in common, is time.
We all have the time of our life, whatever and whoever we are and no matter how short or long.
What are you going to do with your time? How are you going to spend it?
Usually bound up with getting and spending, nurturing, working, achieving, raising, busy busy busy, quite suddenly many of us round the world have been given twelve weeks in isolation by the government.
Twelve weeks is a great gift, from the government to us and from us to the world to save it.
And to save the world you don’t even have to wear a cape and fly around in your underpants. Result!
All you have to do is stay home and use your free gift of twelve weeks. What are you going to do with yours?
Twelve weeks is enough to learn the rudiments of a foreign language. What ever device you are reading this on will have the ability to access the foreign language of your choice, this is your chance to make a friend you would never have made in a country you may never visit, in their language, as slowly as you like.
Twelve weeks is enough to dress enough dolls to fill half a six foot table (just saying.)
Twelve weeks is enough to plant some seeds of flowers, salad or vegetables and get them germinated and growing. For fast salad crops it’s even enough to harvest and eat them.
Twelve weeks is enough to learn the rudiments of a musical instrument. Have you got a musical instrument lying around the house somewhere? We do not consider ourselves musical but here we have an inherited organ. (I’ll leave a space here for you to make up your own jokes. It is of a generous size and brown FYI.) (It was all the OH had, apart from some war medals, from his dad.) We have a penny whistle. We have my old recorder. If you do not have such instruments I bet you have saucepans you could learn to do drumming upon. All drummers are slightly mad but in the current climate this will never be noticed and, if you are really frustrated by the situation, bashing it out with a wooden spoon on the back of a pan will do you the world of good. (There will be a later column on do-it-yourself divorces for marriages where one half suddenly espouses drumming.)
Twelve weeks is long enough to learn to draw. In a later column I will show you my portraits. (Haven’t got etchings, may take that up, too.) The most crucial aid to success is to get the lines in the right places. All you need is some paper and an eraser. If you are running out of paper you can use the back of leftover wallpaper, brown paper bags, shopping lists and so on. As long as it is a flat, smooth surface you can draw on, you can do it. You are focussed on reproducing whatever you see before you. Any object, any view, any person, pet, picture on a screen, doesn’t matter what, the aim is the acquisition of skill. In twelve weeks you can acquire lot of skill, practice is what it takes, time is what you’ve got.
Learn to juggle. Two or three objects, similar size and weight. Ideally not the cat, the dog and the cooked chicken from the supermarket, but. you know.
Teach the old dog new tricks. Teach the cat to fetch. Learn to speak goldfish.
The old student trick from long ago………rearrange the books in the bookcase, tallest on the left, shortest on the right, then catalogue them.
Read all the books you were going to read but never had time to get round to. You can find them online. Shakespeare, Plato, Dostoyevsky, Ibsen, Kafka, Darwin, Chaucer………. The list is long. These are the people who changed the world with words. This is your chance to get to know them and find out how they changed the world with words. It is completely amazing that you can do such a thing, but you can.
Why not write your own life story? You are the person best qualified in the entire world to do this. It is a great legacy you can leave to the future and to your descendants. Samuel Pepys, politician, diarist and author, lived through plague and the Great Fire of London. His writings of the time are a very valuable historical document. You could be a similar historian of all that is happening right now, if you write it down.
Instead of rubbishing cookery shows on television have a go yourself. It’s amazing what you can make with basic stuff. flour, fat, sugar, an egg (that’s a lot of biscuits, right there. You don’t have to eat them all at once, biscuits and cake freeze, hard biscuits will keep in a tin for weeks.)
Learn poetry off by heart. This is wonderfully old fashioned and sooooooooooooooo good for your brain. Learn the lyrics to your favourite pop songs properly. Go on, all the words in the correct order. I dare you.
Learn to dance. Tap is the thing I always wanted to have a go at. But I do often dance as I work out to music.
That’s the next one, work out a work out for yourself and then work it out. The OH paid good money to join a step class, all they did was step on and off a step to music. Quickly, slowly, bouncy, stand on one leg, while flapping your arms, singing, both feet up, both feet down. And he paid money for that. Well, I’ll go to the foot of our stairs.
Have you watched Groundhog Day? This is our Groundhog day. At the end of twelve weeks you can emerge, blinking, into the sunshine as the artist, linguist, juggler, know-all, baker, poet, drummer, nutritionist, and anything else you want to be., that you have always wanted to be. No one will have seen you practise. No one will have witnessed the awful, screechy bits, the falling off the step (stay safe, A&E may be a bit busy if you break something), the tasty biscuits that looked awful. What will emerge into the sunshine to amaze is a talented individual, a newly wonderful person. You, 2.0. Redesigned. Better. New improved.
Twelve weeks is the chrysalis. Enter a slug, come out as a superstar butterfly.
Get busy, you’ve probably only got twelve weeks before the ghastliness that is modern living recommences. Appalling relatives, who mainly view you as a cheap source of food, are waiting, poised horribly ‘When all this is over dear we’ll come and stay for six weeks. Your father has his old trouble back, so our house could do with an airing, we can’t wait.’
Twelve weeks to change the way the world sees you. Twelve weeks to SuperYou.