What Would You Do with 697 Hours?

I just found 697 hours with nothing at all to do. For someone who’s always stressing about there not being enough hours in the day, it’s a tremendous gift. You see, I had to have three rounds of chemo last week to treat multiple sclerosis. This particular type of chemo kills your T cells, which are exactly what your body needs to fight COVID. My doctor told me if I got COVID, I wouldn’t be able to fight it and I’d end up on a ventilator, so I would need to completely quarantine away from everyone for at least three months… hence the hours I’ve found. That’s 4 hours working from home before I settle in to read or watch TV, and 13 hours a day on my days off and weekends, for around three months.

So, I’m looking at 697 hours when I literally have nothing to do. I can’t run errands. Go grocery shopping. Drive my kids around. Go to the beach, movies or mall. Clean the house. Do laundry. Get my nails done. Go out to eat. Go Christmas shopping. Cook dinner. Bake Christmas cookies. Even hang out with my family.

I’ve already missed Halloween, and will miss out on a five-day trip to Disney, Thanksgiving, putting up the tree, Christmas Eve, Christmas Day, New Year’s Eve and two of my kids’ birthdays. I’m insisting that my family keep the Disney trip going, though – no need for them to miss out on a much-needed escape, even if it’s with masks and social distancing. I will emerge from my COVID Cave with gloves and a mask on for the birthdays and Christmas to watch the kids open their presents, and plan to eat the important holiday dinners with them at a distance from the porch. But other than that, I won’t be there.

But instead of focusing on what I’m missing out on, I am trying to focus on those 697 hours and all the things I’ll be able to do with them. I’m choosing to see this as a gift.

What would you do if you suddenly found 697 free hours? Here’s my list so far:

Things I Always Mean to Do But Never Have Time

  • Organize my recipe box, jewelry drawer and file cabinet
  • Sort the bin of pictures that’s been sitting in my garage for a decade
  • Facetime my friends and family in other cities
  • Reconnect with family on social media
  • Clean out the box of junk in my bedroom (I honestly have no idea what’s in there or why)
  • Finally finish my world domination plan (yes, I have one)

Get Creative

  • Paint a picture for my newly remodeled bathroom
  • Start a blog
  • Write a book
  • Reflect deeply and write some poems

Enjoy the Holidays

  • Shop for Christmas presents and birthdays (online, of course)
  • Wrap presents, but actually do a good job
  • Make Christmas ornaments for gifts
  • Watch every single Hallmark Christmas movie
  • Find a way to help others

Learn Something

  • Watch documentaries
  • Learn to play the piano
  • Start practicing my Spanish again (I used to be fairly fluent)
  • Teach my Great Dane a trick
  • Create my first Tik Tok video

Focus on Getting Healthy

  • Get 15 minutes of vitamin D in the sunshine every day
  • Learn yoga (and actually do it)
  • Nap and read in the hammock
  • Do the MS physical therapy exercises that I told my PT I’d do at home last year when I stopped going (but rarely actually did)
  • Learn to let go and stop being a momager
  • Learn to meditate
  • Drink a lot less chardonnay

Who knows if I’ll get many of these done, if I’ll end up focusing more on some and ignore others, or if I’ll spend most of my time in bed watching America’s Next Top Model. But it’s a great start, and I’m looking forward to this weekend now that I’m starting to feel a little better. Wish me luck, and check back for updates – I’ll be here through January, and could use the virtual company!  

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