It's Friday, Friday, Friday
and we're all trying to keep from going stir-crazy. With that in mind, I've dug into my bag of introvert tricks and pulled out some more things to help stave off boredom, depression, and loneliness in this time of social-distancing. The hope is to give you some ideas that you can look into for free or relatively cheap; and that you can access remotely or still get delivered. In a perfect world you'd be able to access some of these things that need to be purchased from small, local businesses; and if that's still the case where you are located PLEASE support your local businesses. If you're corner comic shop is still open, start comic book collecting. If the Thai restaurant you love just expanded their delivery zone and now reaches your doorstep, order some Shrimp Pad Thai (extra spicy for me). If you know an artist or author that has a Patreon or was forced to cancel a show or book tour, send them a note on Instagram or Facebook and ask if they've got anything you can purchase. Every little bit helps, hopefully the ideas we're sharing here can help a bit too.
For today we'll start with the idea of finding and listening to podcasts. I rarely listen to podcasts, but when I do, I have several that I really love. If you don't know where to find them, click the just below the image of headphones for a really good, up-to-date article on places to find podcasts. That's step one. The next step is wading through the genres and different types of podcasts out there, and there are millions of them. Most of them are free, though there are ads embedded in them, but that's a small price to pay for some great entertainment, education, or edutainment. Here are some of my (Paul) favorite podcasts.
Freakanomics Radio - an educational look into bizarre economics stories that are jam packed with amazing stories.
This American Life - Short story vignettes of life in America, often touching or humorous Ira Glass is an amazing story teller that truly brings these mostly, everyday life stories literally to life.
Radiolab - Combining the random, weird, and wonderful into a sometimes-frenetic retelling of tales, hosts Jad Abumrad and Robert Krulwich craft some of the best "radio" out there.
Lore - The scariest stories are the ones that are real and Lore does just that by sharing historical horrors of people, creatures, and places. It was so good, Amazon Prime made it into a mini-series.
Welcome to Night Vale - Stealing from the old radio serials from before the time of television, WtNV broadcasts news, weather, announcements, and other spooky goings-on in a small desert town.
(My current personal favorite) The Shrink Next Door - A true crime podcast about a wealthy man who's life is turned upside down when his psychologist becomes his business partner and starts living in his house in the Hamptons.
If you're not in the mood to start a journey into podcasts, here are a few other ideas.
Learn a new language. With the help of free sites/apps like DuoLingo and LanguageZen you could be speaking another language in no-time. For most of the world, being multilingual is a must, but Americans often don't see the benefit of learning other languages. Open your mind and fire up your learning receptors. Take a trip through Italian or German and plan a trip for when we beat this and life is a bit more normal. Knowledge is a wonderful thing, and usable knowledge (another language) is even more wonderful. Spend some time learning a new language of your choice.
Dust off that old guitar you bought in high school and then never played. Pick up your flute, bring in the drum set from the garage, or pull out that Casio keyboard you never could break. Youtube is JAM-PACKED with music tutorials. If you're lucky enough to still get deliveries from online companies (most of us are) order an inexpensive instrument and make some music. If you're REALLY adventurous, sign up for a Tik Tok account and post daily updates of your journey learning to play your new instrument!
Lastly, teach yourself calligraphy or hand lettering. Much like the above suggestion, YouTube has a wealth of tutorials on this topic. Whether it's hand lettering ideas, Italic calligraphy 1 & 2, or modern calligraphy there are tons of places to start. You can also find free printable worksheets in a variety of styles simply by using Google.