The past year has been tough on all of us in one way or another. Too many people have tragically lost their lives, and too many more are struggling with the loss of family, friends, good health, livelihoods, and safety nets. Not being able to meet up in person, dine in or go out together, or connect with people near and far has tested us all. Hopefully we are now moving in the right direction, but there’s still likely a long way to go.

Not bad, if I do say so myself.

For those who have had an easier time of it, have extra time on their hands, and are looking for things to do, there are many ideas and opportunities to reconnect with some hidden talent, try something new, or come up with clever and creative ways to interact.

I have friends who learned to paint, knit, and play a musical instrument, write a book, story and blog, organise, clean, shop and bake, and spend more time outdoors exploring neighbourhoods and parks. Other ideas include shared social media dinners. small-project construction, bird watching, chess, home-brewing, photography and podcasting.

Fortunately, I have been busy working during COVID and my main struggle has been the loss of contact with friends and family here and elsewhere. Initially any free time was spent on Netflix and Zoom, but one can only keep that up for a while.

At one point, I was tempted to try cooking, but quickly realised … no! I can shop, chop, stir and eat, but cooking is a step too far.

And then I had a better idea – why not practise writing with my left hand? A childhood accident to my right required me to use my left for most things – brushing my teeth, using the computer mouse and remotes, opening doors, winding watches, and pretty much everything else – but writing was always a bit iffy. So, I decided to challenge myself by doing all sudokus with my left hand. Six months later, I think I’ve done pretty well in that endeavour, although given some of the other things people have done, writing in my left hand does pale a bit in comparison.

Hopefully, by this time next year, COVID will be on the run, life will be much safer, and restrictions will be lifted. But in the meantime, I’ll continue to wear a mask, keep a safe distance, get vaccinated – May 4 – and thank every health care and frontline worker I meet. I’ll also keep practising writing with my left hand, and maybe even branch out into writing letters. Sure beats cooking.

Stay well, everyone!