A Coronavirus Chronicle #15

Subtitle: Some things I’ve learned during an extended time of quarantine.

Bad Hair Day? I’ve learned that I can go twelve weeks without a haircut. (In the past, four weeks was my norm and six, at the most.) And one addition to my circadian routine, even when I don’t leave the house, is the nearly hourly brushing and combing of the ever-lengthening curls lest they, in their naturally shared company, become a tangled thicket.

Leaving Home Once! Formerly, I possessed a razor-sharp memory. Now, I’ve become forgetful. Not (yet!) about the über-significant names and faces of people. However, remembering the items on my lists of to-dos and what I require to fulfill them? Not so much. I don’t always forget, yet often enough to notice. Thus, when I leave home, almost invariably it’s a short trip. For necessity bids I return to retrieve what I failed to bear in hand the first time.

But in these quarantined days of fewer obligatory reasons to journey into the great outdoors, I’ve learned that in having more time to consider my venturing forth, I’m less absent-minded. Thus, I leave home only once.

When I Comes Before E! During my full-time vocational life, for various reasons, several times, I took the Myers–Briggs Type Indicator. In each case, the reading of my cognitive learning style relative to extroversion and introversion was on balance. That always made sense to me. For I equally perceive and comprehend the world around me via interacting with others and by drawing apart in the solitude of private contemplation.

But in these quarantined days, I relish the more afforded quiet time to think and to feel, to pray and to reflect and to write. In this, I’ve learned – or so, I believe – that I’ve always been a “professional extrovert;” one who adapted to his working environment of being present and serving the public by stepping onto the lit stage and performing his role, playing his part. (Now, I may be harsh, too harsh in this my self-assessment, but, I think, fairly, not entirely.)

Habits. One Old. One New. For all of my life, I’ve been a reader. And though I still like the tactile stimulation of holding the text in hand, I’ve learned to read volume upon volume on-line.

Recently, I was alerted to and read a study pertaining to human habits and how they are formed. The big takeaway? For most of us, it (give or) takes sixty-six days (that is, doing an activity for that number of consecutive days) to form a habit. Conversely, I think, not doing an activity for that period of time can break a habit.

Concerning the latter, during these still-raging days of the COVID-19 pandemic, I, a long-time sports aficionado, for the past four-plus months of no professional team competition, have learned (1) that ESPN’s SportsCenter need not be my first thing in the morning go-to television channel, (2) that replays of yesteryear’s championship games are boring, and, most tellingly, (3) that I haven’t missed watching sports.

Now, I wonder. When broadcast sports again become a television staple, will it take sixty-six days for me to re-inhabit my olden habit?

© 2020 PRA

Endnote: How are habits formed: Modelling habit formation in the real world, Philippa Lally, Cornelia H. M. van Jaarsveld, Henry W. W. Potts and Jane Wardle, University College London, London, United Kingdom (2009)

4 thoughts on “A Coronavirus Chronicle #15

  1. I can totally relate to all of these. Thank you for making me feel “normal”


  2. Ah, my dear sister Dianne, thank you and you are welcome. I well might have subtitled this post: Elements of a new normal. For I suspect we – the human race – will continue to deal with the coronavirus in whatever mutated form(s) for time (years? each year?) to come.

    Be well, stay well.



  3. This was so cool Paul!! Like Dianne, I can relate to every bit of this!!

    I almost dread going out now. I’m soooo safe in my beautiful little space.

    I’m shocked that I don’t miss my coworkers, and even more shocked that I don’t miss sports!! I love virtual church and how I can go to as many services on Sunday as I want!!!

    This “new normal” isn’t so bad after all and in terms of personal reflection it’s been life-changing. I reached my goal yesterday at 5:30am of reading the entire Bible. It took 4 months and 2 days. Aside from my concern for my Mom’s current state I’m very much at peace!

    I have to say the most shocking thing in your post is the fact that you’re reading so much online!!!!!! Who knew THAT would happen???

    Much love!


  4. Loretta, regarding change, as I’m wont to do, I share again the words of James Russell Lowe, “…new occasions teach new duties, time makes ancient good uncouth…” So, let us continue to monitor the changes around us AND, perhaps, more importantly, within us. Let us, in suchwise, carry on! Love


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