What I did during the pandemic lockdown to stay sane
Let’s face it. We spent a lot of time at home during the pandemic watching any and all TV available to us, sitting in front of the computer for work and personal reasons, and promising ourselves we would exercise more. We were told that anxiety and depression were a possibility during this time. In true form, I began reading articles on how to prevent anxiety and depression. One article stood out from the rest. It recommended being curious and help others as both a prevention and cure for anxiety and depression. I decided to concentrate on being curious since helping others is what I do every day for a living. Being curious likely means different things to different people. To me, at first, it was discovering something I had always been meaning to do but never took the time to do it.
For years and likely decades, I have been teasing my son, Andrew, that I have been creating a painting for him as a Christmas gift. The banter between Andrew and me has been friendly and fun. In the spirit of being curious, I decided to paint a picture for Andrew and surprise him for Christmas. It is important to note that the only thing I have painted in my life has been the walls in our house and even that has been taken over by my wife, Jana, who is a professionally trained house painter.
I am a researcher. I search for and read anything I can find when buying a car, making a home repair, and now learning how to paint a picture. I looked at landscapes, portraits, classics, and contemporary art. I decided my best bet was to create an abstract painting. I studied the different types of mediums (aka, paints). I chose acrylics because they seemed the most vibrant and are easy to clean up. I stood in the aisle at Michael’s for an hour selecting a proper canvas and brushes. I returned to online research and Michael’s after the painting had tried to figure out what was the best way to protect the painting. My curiosity produced this surprise for Andrew and me. He was surprised that this running joke was fulfilled. I was surprised that I painted the picture.
Curiosity was beginning to be more fun than I expected. I looked around for the next thing I could do. I looked at the huge jar of coins filled with more than seven years of pocket change and thought I want to roll the coins. Weird, I know but curiosity as to how much was in the jar was powerful. Once again, I spent a few hours online researching the best ways to roll these coins with during it by hand or paying someone else 20% to do it. I ordered a coin sorting machine from Staples.com and went to town. One week later and two coin roll sleeves orders later, I rolled $700 in coins.
A curious train of thought began to occur as I looked for the next thing I always wanted to do but never got around to it. I decided it was a good time to learn how to transfer video tapes to digital files. So back to the books or in this case Google search to learn how this could be done. I discovered Vidbox Video Conversion Suite, purchased it online from Best Buy, and proceeded to watch videos of Christmases, school and church plays, a swim meet, and numerous basketball games as I transferred video tape to digital files. Once again it was rewarding to research, learn, and do a new task. The curiosity that led me to this project gave me something more. I was able to see and hear people I love at their best including my mother who we lost eleven years ago. The curiosity that led me here was filled with love.
You may have noticed there is a streaming of consciousness to my curiosity, so it makes perfect sense to me that learning how to edit movies is the logical next pandemic project. I had dabbled with iMovie, the editing app on my phone a few times but I never did the homework for the class. Yep, you guessed it. I started researching how to use iMovie. I found a terrific video on YouTube that made using iMovie relatively simple, so I got started by editing a couple of personal movies I shot on my iPhone. This led to our producing Zoom videos with clients, friends, and prospect clients that have a unique point of view to share. We call the video and blog series “There is a Difference.” We have produced, with my editing, twenty-two videos plus one in editing and another waiting for editing. Please check them out on our YouTube channel, Draper DNA. Here is the LINK.
I received a drone as a gift during the lockdown from my wife. She thought it was a fun way to get me outdoors and play. I never once thought of owning and operating a drone. This drone has a HiRes camera on it that shoots both still photos and video. See the connection of pandemic curiosity. I went back online to watch the tutorial and began flying. Like all good pilots, I have named my aircraft – Post Madrone 2. The name is a takeoff of the musical artist and performer Post Malone. The number 2 is because I flew number 1 into the trees and did not survive the crash. Thank goodness (my Jana) and Best Buy for the extended warranty. The timeliness of learning to fly the drone and take photos and videos was never better as we decided to build our forever home. Here is a cool overhead shot from Post Madrone of the building site.
The curiosity did not stop with personal discovery. After ten months of reading white papers, case studies, and articles, I am still learning about the relationship of indoor air quality and the ceiling plane. Embracing this sense of curiosity has been fun. It has me actively looking for new things to discover and try.