Jay Thompson is a former brokerage owner who spent six years working for Zillow Group. He retired in August 2018 but can’t seem to leave the real estate industry behind. His weekly Inman column publishes every Wednesday.
Journal Entry: Self-imposed quarantine, Day 8
This place is really small. Fluffy, the 19-year-old cat can be annoying as hell. There are crazy people and a stunning number of experts in infectious disease on the internet. This place is really small. Let me out of here.
Welcome to … what do we call this? “Pandemic” is the official word, I guess. How the whole coronavirus situation is impacting you depends a lot on where you live, as well as your personal situation.
Me? I live in the hotspot of Seattle, which still has the dubious distinction of having the most deaths related to COVID-19 in the U.S. The fact that I’m knocking on the door to 60 and have a history of heart disease doesn’t help.
As mentioned in last week’s column, my wife and I recently went on a small-ship cruise to the Caribbean. Since we’ve been traveling out of the country and on a ship, we decided to heed the Centers for Disease Control’s advice to self-quarantine.
Deep into Day 8, the boredom has set in. Even for an “extroverted introvert” such as myself, it isn’t easy being trapped inside, isolated.
Desperately needing something to pass the time (and with a column deadline looming), it seemed prudent to create a list of things to do to ward off cabin fever.
It’s easy to get sucked into discussions on Facebook, where you spin wheels in a futile effort to share science-based information in conversations formed from fear, hype and misinformation. Instead, you can do things to stay busy, keep your mind sharp, and just maybe benefit your business and life.
In no particular order:
- Read a book
- Listen to music
- Clean your desk
- Deep clean your house
- Call past clients
- Do a puzzle
- Learn a new language
- Play an instrument. Don’t know how? YouTube lessons!
- Nap (Naps are very under-rated)
- Memorize Hamlet’s soliloquy
- Send five handwritten notes a day
- Listen to a podcast
- Start your own podcast
- Learn to play chess
- Read a classic literary work
- Make an Amazon wish list
- Call your mother
- Watch a movie with subtitles
- Write a poem
- Write a song
- Write a haiku
- Make pasta by hand
- Toss playing cards into a hat
- Learn to whistle
- Give your food delivery server a 100 percent tip
- Make and share Spotify playlists. (Here’s what Rita Wilson came up with in isolation with husband Tom Hanks.)
- Listen to an artist way outside your usual genre
- Reach out to “dead leads” from three years ago
- Play a full game of Monopoly or Risk. Without tipping the board over
- Make a Google Map of all the places you’ve traveled
- Organize your computer files
- Write letters to friends and family
- Write a letter to “Any Resident,” and send it to a local nursing or assisted living center
- Show your spouse that you love him or her
- Wash your hands
- Paint your nails. Yes, guys too. No one will see you
- Learn to sew
- Understand that the cat is 19, old and a little senile. Love her like she’s loved you
- See if you can make a list of 100 things. Any topic. It’s not easy!
- Turn off your phone for 24 hours.
- Call someone you haven’t talked to in awhile
- Watch Godfather and Godfather: Part II back-to-back. Skip Godfather: Part III
- Turn that clothes rack back into a treadmill or stationary bike
- Binge-watch a new series
- Don’t watch the stock market
- Be nice
- Plant a window herb garden
- Change your wifi network name to “Beers not viruses.”
- Research your family tree
- Order take-out from a local restaurant
- Read The Stand, watch Contagion. Remember, they are fiction
- Build a fort with chairs and blankets
- Organize your photos
- Write evergreen content snippets for use on social and blogs
- Clean up your contact relationship management systems
- Change your air filters
- Take belly-dancing lessons on YouTube
- Learn a magic trick
- Refine your listing presentation
- Teach yourself origami
- Keep a positive attitude
- Craft that perfect newsletter
- Virtually interview local business owners
- Take deep, cleansing breaths. In through the nose, out through the mouth
- Make your own hand sanitizer
- Eat your vegetables
- Tax Day is still April 15. Deal with it
- Give to a food bank
- Donate to the Beverly Carter Foundation
- Reach out to someone less fortunate
- Offer to help
- Color your hair
- Talk to your kids
- Play with your kids
- Read to your kids
- Just be with your kids
- Grow a beard
- Shave your head!
- Stop shaving your legs
- Take a bubble bath
- Drink wine by the box
- Take a bubble bath while drinking boxed wine
- That junk drawer? Fix it
- Go through your closet. Send anything you haven’t worn in a year to a charity
- Check the Centers for Disease Control and World Health Organization websites
- Ignore the conspiracy theorists
- Wash your hands, again
- Do yoga, right there on the living room floor
- Show someone how to use Zoom, GoToMeeting and other virtual solutions
- Detail your car
- Teach your old dog a new trick
- Be kind
- Love more
- Dance like nobody’s watching
These are strange times. No one knows how this will all pan out, and the world is a different place than it was just a few weeks ago. It’s likely to get worse before it gets better. You can make the worst of this, or suck it up and try to make the best of it.
We’re in uncharted territory. Tempers are short, people are stressed out, financial markets are melting down. As tempting as it is, curling up in the fetal position and hoping it just goes away isn’t very productive or realistic.
Stay home as much as possible. Be kind, understanding and empathetic. We will get through this, and we just might come out better on the other side.
Jay Thompson is a real estate veteran and retiree in Seattle, as well as the one spinning the wheels at Now Pondering. Follow him on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter. He holds an active Arizona broker’s license with eXp Realty. “Retired but not dead,” Jay speaks around the world on many things real estate.