What to do with free time?

Commentary by Chris Clegg

One has to look long and hard to find anything good coming from the COVID pandemic.

So much misery! So much panic! So much confusion! Who to believe with so much information in the media, much of it conflicting?

I do not want to belittle anyone’s misery and/or grief from personal experience regarding the pandemic, whether it’s personal or financial. I will, however, share my own experience.

A few people have “unloaded” on me about their plight. For the most part, it’s financial. There is a world of hurt from some people fearing the loss of their job. Many in the energy sector were already feeling the pain from the slowdown in the industry.

It is common talk at the coffee shop. Some fear the virus, others scoff at it. Everyone is entitled to their opinion. For me, and I may be taking a rather light view of it, if I get the virus, I get it. I cannot let fear of it rule my life.

Perhaps if I had constant contact with the elderly [Romeo and Andy aside] I might think different. Or an aging parent or a young child.

One thing will be a big change for me this winter. Because of the pandemic, I am about to enjoy more free time than I’ve had for many years.

In addition to work responsibilities, for over 30 years I’ve done statistics for the NPHL. It involves processing games from Saturday on Sunday for release that day.

Being the dinosaur I am, I still compile stats by hand, but produce more comprehensive stats than most leagues.

But not this winter! Sundays I will have more free time than ever since 1990.

I’ve already enjoyed a bit of a taste of this free time with so many events canceled because of the pandemic. I miss attending the events, meeting people, taking photos of happy children, and more.

Not being able to go to the schools to cover events is much, much different. No sports to attend. No Christmas concerts this December. Who would have ever thought that would happen?

I haven’t had TV at home for awhile and really don’t miss it very much. We had TV at the office to help me through the day but not since we moved to our new office. Still didn’t miss TV enough to make arrangements and plug it in, however.

My free time is spent reading and listening to sports talk radio from the States. There is far better quality on radio than TV when sports is concerned, believe me.

I’ve also been thinking of tackling Project 3. Twice I’ve built the largest jigsaw puzzle in the world and I’m seriously considering the third. A project that would take just over a year, I estimate. A mere 40,320 pieces! Child’s play!

As I hone my craft of being a lazy old man, I am enjoying the break. As I get older, I am finding the energy I used to have is waning fast. No longer can I put in the long, long days as I grow tired.

And truth be told, I don’t like it one darn bit!

Ah, but while enjoying my youth, I did not pay heed to my elders who told me this day would be coming. Indeed, the bones do ache in the morning and the muscles are stiff until I move around a bit.

But I digress and ramble on. Wasn’t this starting out to be a column about COVID? I guess all this free time has made my brain take a break, too.

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