Updated on: May 22, 2020

Feeling Lonely? Look through the Terrarium Glass

Original story posted on: May 20, 2020

Many say that during this pandemic, they feel lonely in their terrariums, otherwise known as their homes. I didn’t. It was so nice to not be traveling for work, and instead be at home with my husband, who, by the way, has yet to weigh in on whether he’s glad I’m hogging half the bed or not.

Being sequestered, per se, was good for me. I was able to get a lot done when I wasn’t eating or napping. I seemed to have developed the need for an afternoon or mid-morning siesta. The benefit of doing so was that I wasn’t snacking. 

Beware, for those of you at home with your spouse or significant other, there is a prediction out there: there will be a minor baby boom in nine months, and then one day in 2033, we shall witness the rise of the “quaranteens.”

To avoid baby booms, some pretty famous folks forced themselves into isolation. Henry David Thoreau, Sir Isaac Newton, and William Shakespeare are perfect examples.  Thoreau spent two years in a small house he built on the property of Ralph Waldo Emerson and its 60-acre lake: Walden Pond. This is where he wrote his seminal work, Walden. 

Isaac Newton had a prodigious capacity to consider mathematical problems, and then focus on them until he had solved the mystery behind them. His one-pointed nature led him to, at times, go into seclusion and be detached from the world. (https://www.biographyonline.net/scientists/isaac-newton.html)

The most popular anecdote about Newton is the story of how the theory of gravity came to him, after being hit on the head with a falling apple. Regardless of whether this actually occurred, Newton’s time outside, alone, seeing apples fall from trees, may have influenced his theories of gravity.

Then, in 1606, during the bubonic plague, which resulted in a loss of a third of the local population and smallpox running rampant, Shakespeare hunkered down for a year and churned out King Lear, Macbeth, and Antony and Cleopatra.  (https://medium.com/assemblage/famous-writers-who-wrote-masterpieces-during-confinement-48442020586f)

So, what am I saying? Stop whining about being lonely and look at yourself, your life, and all the good things that continue to be happening while we’re stuck in our terrariums. Take this time to write your memoirs, a scandalous book about what really happens at work when co-workers should be working, or, as a friend of mine did, write your obituary, so it says what you want it to say. 

If writing is not on the list of things that excite you, then take a course and learn something that will benefit you when you return to work, or even around the house.  There are a lot of “do it yourself” courses on YouTube.

Finally, if writing or learning are not on your list, research what it would take to start a business that you think may more satisfying than your current job, or help you secure your future.

Remember, when you’re doing any of these, you can drink more wine when you’re not whining.

Rose Dunn

Rose T. Dunn, MBA, RHIA, CPA, FACHE, FHFMA, CHPS, is a past president of the American Health Information Management Association (AHIMA) and recipient of AHIMA’s distinguished member and legacy awards. She is chief operating officer of First Class Solutions, Inc., a healthcare consulting firm based in St. Louis, Mo. First Class Solutions, Inc. assists healthcare organizations with operational challenges in HIM, physician office documentation and coding, and other revenue cycle functions.

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