AA Credit Union

Winter 2021

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AACREDITUNION.ORG | 19 she said. "As soon as the pan- demic started, everything just dropped. It was that feeling of music stopping and you didn't realize it was going on, and all of a sudden it was really quiet." Beacham also started cooking more elaborate recipes and dedicated herself to training to run a Boston Marathon- qualifying time. Both gave her something to look forward to. "Routine and structure help me get through the day," she said. "Now that the pandemic's here and it feels like I'm just fl oating through it, unteth- ered to other people and other things going on, it's nice to have that structure and routine as part of daily life." Planting seeds of hope Baking isn't the only old-fashioned hobby that Americans took up during hours off. Suddenly, pursuits such as gardening, knitting and other practical, hands-on hobbies came into vogue. Jim Chen, who works in investment manage- ment, learned to use a sewing machine and began growing a variety of plants on his patio. Without having his usual experiences like meeting up with friends and going out to din- ner to inject variety into the day, Chen found that caring for his plants — and experimenting with which conditions worked best for them — provided a way to see progress in a time when it felt like nothing was moving forward. "With these plants, you start with a seedling, and they grow a little bigger as you take care of them. It was a nice marker of the passage of time during this period," he said. "I'd move the plants several times a day to optimize the sun exposure, which helped break up the day a little bit and gave me a reason to stay more active throughout the day." In times of uncertainty, a simpler, self-suffi cient life is appealing — there is great value in learn- ing the basic skills that can sustain us and save money. Tactile hobbies also provide a ground- ing element that's not only calming but can make you feel more useful and connected to the world around you. With news headlines that can feel out of control, there's comfort in know- ing that seedlings will still sprout, stitches will still create a fi nished product and bread will still rise. HALEY SHAPLEY is the author of Strong Like Her: A Celebration of Rule Breakers, History Makers, and Unstoppable Athletes.

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