Instead of sitting in a corner dealing with feelings of anxiety, sadness, and a bit of depression, I decided to turn my restlessness into learning new things and enjoying everything that life has to offer. These feelings make me laugh because this was the way I looked at life before COVID invaded my view of the world. Funnily enough, COVID has reminded me to stop wasting time and get back to doing all the things that I love, setting new goals, and finding creative opportunities. Moving forward and exploring starts now. I see life as a cocktail of new adventures. Join me in planning your next adventure too.
COVID has reminded me of the importance of diversifying my mind and trying new things that may have frightened me before. As a result, I have completed classes that have been monumental in helping me expand my mind, body, and soul. Over the past few months, I have completed four classes that inspired me to do many things differently. My first attempt was taking a class on blogging. I was the only student so it felt like it was meant to be. I learned a lot about ways to improve my message. Then I enrolled in two completely different classes, beginner’s French, which inspired me to use more profanity in a different language and say words like “connard” when wearing my mask. I also completed a Viral Marketing and Crafting Contagious Content course, and I loved every moment of it. In one more week, I will be finishing my Australian Foreign Policy course and learned more than I could have imagined. It’s amazing how countries all over the world resemble each other in their lack of human rights for indigenous people and those of colour. I never realised that racism, hatred, and stupidity exist and live around the globe. COVID also opened my eyes to how people are treated if they are considered of low character because of the colour of their skin or financial status. In many cases, it means that some people will never receive the vaccine until it may be too late. I sincerely hope not. In a month I will be starting my French 2 class so be prepared for my French potty mouth to expand. Also, I just enrolled in an International Relations class to observe how countries dance the tango with each other. I am considering enrolling in a writing course that will help me to create a mystery story, and possibly a Spanish for beginners course. Do you think my head will explode one day from too much information?
The best part of COVID lockdown is teaching myself to create fun cocktails that I never had the time or confidence to try before. Most people who know me can list my favourite cocktails. I can hear my dear friend JY saying, it’s a Cosmo and a Lychee Martini. JY would be correct. COVID has allowed me to test each of them and allowed me to get my tongue wet with a few other concoctions. With lots of practice, tastings, and creating more of them, I have perfected a few others cocktails to add to my list. If you are interested, let me know and I will share my recipes with you. These are my favourite cocktails:
- Lychee Martini
- Espresso Martini
- French 75
- Absolute Elderflower
- Elderflower & Pear Martini
- Frangelico Martini
- Elderflower Vodka Gimlet
- Grand Sangria Rouge
- Hendricks Gin Martini with three olives, shaken, nor stirred
Please pardon the shortness of my list of delectable cocktails, because of COVID, I am still in training and being introduced to new drinks every week. In case you are concerned, I am a slow drinker and also a consumer of a lot of water. Yep, I run to the toilet quite often too. Many of my new friends, when not in lockdown are bartenders that teach me new tricks. For example, one taught me to add a shot of Patrón Cafe Tequila to my Espresso Martini to give it an extra kick. Delish!
COVID has also encouraged me to return to being an avid reader of history. As a result, I am learning what happened in the past, present and taking a closer look at how the future may be impacted by the selfishness and stupidity of politicians and people that believe in them. Many of the books I am reading or just completed are educating me about my own history that I was never taught about in schools. I just completed Caste by the incredible author, Isabel Wilkerson, and it opened my eyes and mind wider than they have ever been opened about the caste system that exists in America and India today. It also delves into the history of Nazi Germany and the inhumane atrocities done to people. Presently, I am reading an honest book by D.L. Hughley entitled, How to Survive America, that speaks openly and honestly about all the corruption in America yesterday and today. I am also reading some of the most delightful mysteries and short stories that keep me on the edge. One of my treasured books to date is called, The Door and Other Uncanny Tales, by Dmetri Kakmi. It’s my new companion that goes to bed with me each night. The writing is incredible and I highly recommend all of these books.
I congratulate COVID for promising me a lovely vacation, but I usually wake up in the kitchen looking rather confused, then start to prepare an appetising meal that entered my brain from my dreams. Like many of my friends, I now have an urge for creative meals. Initially, at the beginning of COVID, I ate the entire fridge and glanced at my arms as if they were fried chicken winglets from KFC, but now my goal is to eat well and to live a healthier lifestyle. And if I lose the extra handles on my side, so be it. I have discovered the trick is to not overeat and reduce my intake of sugars. Some of my favourite meals include:
- Chicken Corn Chowder
- Clam Chowder
- Seafood Gumbo
- Risotto with Salmon, Lobster, Mushrooms or Asparagus
- Spinach & Kale Stir Fry with Chicken or Lardon (bacon) pieces
- Pinto Beans or Black-eyed Peas & Saffron Rice
- Cajun Shrimp Pasta
- Butternut Squash Soup
- Curry Chicken & Vegetables
- Split Pea Soup
- Chicken Enchiladas & Quesadillas
With the gentle push from friends, I have started to exercise more, experience yoga stretches that strengthen my back muscles after sitting all day at the computer or on Zoom calls, and practicing mindful meditations and breathing. Years ago I would have laughed at the thought of meditating, but after practicing meditation and breathing for over a year, I can honestly say that it works and continue to change my mood, helping me to focus on what’s important in my life.
COVID has also taught me to stay in my lane and focus on myself and those in the immediate circle that I love and care about the most. I am only responsible for myself and my actions and/or reactions. Like everywhere, there are many people in public places who refuse to wear a mask, although there is signage that they should be wearing one, there is no one to enforce the rules. They enjoy looking at others wearing masks, hoping for interaction or an opportunity to argue or get into a fight about their freedom or rights. Thanks to COVID, I don’t give a cat’s paw because I am too busy enjoying my day, my life, and looking forward to talking, eating, and laughing with true friends, or just savouring the fond memories that make me smile.
And finally, Monsieur ou Madame COVID has pushed me to investigate great music of all genres that I had forgotten were in my files. I just rediscovered Ahmad Jamal, who turned 91 years old on July 2nd. His jazz music made me stop and sit still while listening to the many notes. A favourite is entitled, But Not For Me. I have also been jamming to Jon Baptiste’s latest Freedom, which makes me move every part of my body, then I have to return to yoga.
So, with all said and done, I blow a big kiss to COVID for making me see my world differently, loving my circle of true friends more than ever before, loving myself first so I can share kindness with others. Every experience is a cocktail of adventure for me. Most importantly, I have learned to see people for what and who they are, without anger or disappointment.
What positive life lessons have you learned from COVID?