Where oh where is the Unplugged Village during Covid?

Updated: Sep 26, 2020

I've certainly kept my promise to NOT inundate you with emails. In fact I've done such a good job that you probably wondered if I was hiding out with Rodney Rooster in the chicken coop for 6 months. I'll be honest with you, I've felt like doing that many times. We had such a successful event at the Farmers Market for the National Day of Unplugging and then the next week, we ran into Covid lockdown. As we've all seen, it's pretty hard to promote connection and community IRL when all the recommendations suggest we stay inside and live a lot of our lives virtually. Of course we had no choice given the circumstances. It had to be done for the community. Did this make me depressed? YOU BETCHA. Am I Zoomed out? Yup. Have I given up on unplugging? Not a chance.

Mind you, there have been bright moments with true connection and a refocus of values that I find priceless. My garden is fantastic and a mental life saver. In fact, I've replaced watching the news (ok some news...I'm not a hermit) with gardening, a slightly less stressful activity. I am now a serious recycler and composter and fairly decent cook. I've gotten closer with my husband and kids and they are taking this Covid business in stride. In fact they all seem to have adjusted pretty easily to it. That all sounds great, and I know I've got it better than most, but this Covid business still stresses me out at times. Yoga in the park, watching old shows from the 70s and 80s and taking my nightly bath are relaxation rituals that have become a necessity to keep my sanity in check.

There were some lovely attempts at social distancing connection going on in my own neighborhood in the Spring. Some worked better than others. We had the sidewalk chalk art contest and drive-by parades for birthdays. Kids and parents got pretty creative.

Someone started a trend of pink flamingos that mysteriously appeared in ones yard which signaled that they were "getting flocked". The pink birds were supposed to move from house to house but have mysteriously flown away after just a couple of homes. Where did they go??? Whoever is in charge....just know I'm still waiting to be flocked.

I did an online fort building demo at one point which was kind of fun and now serves as my Zoom room in my office/guest room. If you come visit me, you can guess where you'll be sleeping. I've been told this is staying up forever. We'll see. The mutts love it.

At Easter time, I made an unsuccessful attempt to inspire a fairy garden community in my neighborhood. Admittedly, it might have been an excuse to make one myself and I found it surprisingly mindful and therapeutic. This was added to the Little Free Library and the neighborhood pantry that occupies our front yard. A few families made gardens and I added some of Rodney Roosters "Peeps" which gave kids something to hunt for when they walked around the neighborhood.

Not everyone has making a fairy garden on their to do list. I totally get it. So many people are just doing their best to make it through the day and deal with Covid the best way they know how. These times are challenging in so many ways especially for parents who are just trying to stay afloat while working at home and being home school wardens. Did I say already that I have it easier than most? My youngest just graduated from high school and I am eternally grateful to not have that extra duty of home school patrol. Parents, teachers and kids please hang in there. You are all true warriors right now!

In terms of the Unplugged Village, I did find a sweet girl scout troop that decorated paper lanterns this summer and then presented them to some nursing homes. The lanterns are still brightening the night and hopefully some of the residents spirits. As isolating as Covid is for most of us, I can only imagine how difficult it is for those in care facilities who can't have in-person visits.

We had started to make lanterns to show support for the businesses in the La Mesa Village as well, but with Covid restrictions and social unrest we put this on hold for the time being. When we resume the program, called "Light Up La Mesa", it will hopefully bring joy and light back to the Village that is struggling so much to come back after Covid and riots that have shaken its core. in May, several buildings were looted and others burned to the ground. Immediately after, there was such a showing of love and support from the community for the Village businesses. It leaves me with a feeling of hope for the future and this community.

For all its down sides and road blocks, Covid has given me the gift of time. While I wasn't able to do much in terms of community events, it gave me the chance to climb on board with the National Day of Unplugging (NDU) team. NDU has been helping people around the world unplug for 10 years and we have some super cool things planned for 2021! To expand on the campaign beyond the big event in March, we have formed the Unplug Collaborative - home to NDU and the Unplugged Village. Joining NDU means I can help people find creative ways to unplug more than I ever could have on my own. I'm super excited to be part of this team!

That said, I'm not sure how many more solo posts I will do for the Unplugged Village so I am adding you to the National Day of Unplugging newsletter. Feel free to unsubscribe if that doesn't interest you. This month in fact, we feature two amazing folks - Jayme Sanders (pictured below) and Nick Carter both from San Diego. Jayme created Mint Studios and helps people get creative with their hands outdoors while being more mindful and present. Nick wrote "Finding Yourself in the Age of Social Media" a great book and super easy read. In the current newsletter Nick teams up with Parenting Expert Julia Storm, to give parents some useful tips for home schooling. I hope you'll follow along with my new adventures through the National Day of Unplugging.

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