“The times they are a-changin,’ come gather round people, wherever you roam…”—Bob Dylan
No doubt those lyrics of Bob Dylan were progressive and attuned to the zeitgeist of 1960s America. Yet poetically inspiring as they were back then, its context in the age of coronavirus makes it appear as though Dylan was on a mission to spread the virus, with a vision to create the first mass extinction event in 65 million years.
With people being discouraged to “gather round” these days, and “wherever you roam” is tantamount to gambling with your life, many of us have quickly transformed into antisocial homebodies with an ever-increasing tolerance to cabin fever.
There was a time not too long ago when reclusive people were mocked by society, much like how face shields are ridiculed today. Not even Howard Hughes, arguably the world’s most famous recluse who also happened to be a business magnate and philanthropist, was spared.
For nearly two years now, my wife Jeck and I have found ourselves living a life not too different from the life Mr. Hughes led—minus, of course, the fat bank accounts and distinction of being among the most influential people in history. Clearly, he was way ahead of his time.
Now that ‘staying in’ is the new normal, Jeck and I occasionally step out of our comfort zones to try new things without even having to leave the house. She and I share the same love for the Holiday Season, yet we decided not to put up the traditional Yuletide decor last year. Mind you, we have nothing against Christmas trees; it’s just that we have nothing against mixing things up once in a while, either.
Times are indeed changing, with people’s lifestyle and livelihood dictated by a volatile global health crisis that makes family gatherings and jet-setting for holidays suddenly seem like bad ideas. We are living out a real-life scenario similar to the stuff horror films are made of, but without the option to fast forward or simply change the channel.
One of the solutions that Jeck and I thought of to spend our days off work productively was to repurpose the unspent time and energy of our postponed travel plans and channel them towards creating a simulation of what could have, would have, and should have been last December… had Bob Dylan not ruined it for everybody.
The end result was a miniature 1:400 scale airport diorama that we co-created, which taught us valuable new lessons, as well as reminded us of old ones. As we worked on it, I was sometimes reminded of Daniel-san from “Karate Kid” who was made to do seemingly menial tasks by Mr. Miyagi, only to discover the deeper meaning and practical applications afterwards.
In our case, this particular endeavor served as a timely reminder that one is never too old to try something new. It was a perfect example that there are countless ways to be productive in-doors; a revelation that time is the most precious commodity that should be spent with the people we love, doing the things we all love—whatever that might be.