Barrett Strong got it so wrong when he waxed lyrical in song as to how “The best things in life are free but you can give them to the birds and bees – I need money (That’s what I want)”.
Pre-Pandemic sentiments changed when we were restrained as residents of Earth, confined to our homes and the limited resources that came with the lockdown. Those fortunate enough to be cooped up with company relearned the joy of playing card games and board games. The isolated remembered the peace that comes with taking long, quiet respites on the deck or in the yard to enjoy a sunset and listen to the sounds of a world left to its own devices rather than drowned out by traffic and industry.
Talking of the birds and bees, let’s consider what pleasures come for free.
Rediscover romance. Whether it is in a good book or with your favorite person. Libraries do still exist; use them.
We have covered respites with a view, over a coffee or with a sundowner in hand, or in silence while holding hands with your favorite person. Invite people over for a card game. Light a bonfire for ambiance.
Exercise! It need not feel like exercise, but your body and your mental health will thank you for taking that leisurely stroll, kicking a ball about, throwing a frisbee for your furry friend, or that cycle through the wilderness (such that it is, and wear a helmet!).
Write something. No one need ever read it and it does wonders for your mind to document your thoughts, desires, dreams, and worries in a pretty or practical journal.
Help someone less fortunate than you. There is no explaining to the uninitiated the indubitable benefits of volunteering, spending time with a lonely person, or helping out where needed. Try it, you’ll love it.
There are places and spaces all around you that you don’t even know about. Find them within a convenient distance of home and discover your surroundings at your leisure. Parks, nature walks, hikes, riverbanks, creeks, or museums.
The beach is always a good idea!
Picnics. You have to eat anyway so go al fresco.
Gardening is the most fun you can have in a mutually symbiotic way. It does wonders for the mind and, yes, your exercise app will recognize it as a workout. Take slips and cuttings and pot up plant babies that are appearing in inappropriate places, and then share these. Spreading the love has never been as much fun. Swop with friends to bring new and interesting life into your space.
Spend time with your pets. Give your pooch a good shampoo, trim the nails, and fluff him or her up afresh. Don’t do this if your pet is a cat. Kitty parents should rather spend a few minutes flicking that forgotten laser pointer onto floors and walls for pure entertainment value.
Learn to play a musical instrument. No pressure. This is just for you and no one else. YouTube has so many How To’s to help you.
Do something creative. If you don’t know what, go onto Pinterest. I guarantee you will something that will pique your interest and spark your creative energy.
Clean out your emails. Or your fridge. Or that messy corner you avoid because it seems like work.
So much to do, see… Start wherever the fancy takes you.