10 Things Worth Being Obsessed About During a Lockdown

The other night I woke up thinking about what will happen in September. Given our situation as a family, it’s hard not to obsess about it. (In hopes that enough obsessing will lead to an ability to plan? I’m not sure.)

  • Will my husband be at work?
  • Will he be able to use his parental leave?
  • Will I be back at work or teaching online?
  • How will I plan for the two new classes I’m expected to teach?
  • How will my birth go?
  • Where will our son go during the birth?
  • How many people will I offend if I don’t let them near the new baby? Etc.

This led me to my phone (the great oracle of answers).

I read article after article about whether schools will open up again in the fall, how many people are projected to get sick and die in the US, how it’s not a good idea to get pregnant right now (real timely article, just to torture myself), and… then… then I realized I should switch my focus to more postive things worth getting obsessed about. 

1. Historical Sights to Visit in the Future

My husband and I haven’t traveled very much in the past several years. We’ve been in a “nesting phase” focused on remodeling our house and having babies. We plan to travel more as our children gradually get older. I’ve never written these places down (or researched them as much as I would like to), so now is a good time. It’s better than researching things that are a bummer.

Here are a few places we hope to go:

Salisbury House - IA (Carl Weeks invented some powder makeup in the early 20th century and raked it in - check out that house!)

Black Hawk War Historical Markers - WI/IL (Sufjan Stevens had a strong opinion about this. He expressed it in an instrumental piece with a long title.)

Duluth Tall Ships (I don’t need to see the world’s largest rubber duck, but the greatest ships of yore sound cool.)

Civil War Sites in VA and SC (I would love to build an entire vacation around the Civil War once our children are old enough to appreciate it.)

Louisa May Alcott’s Orchard House - (Find out more about Louisa’s financial life here. We basically want to explore the entire area of Concord, MA - including that famous pond).

Hearst Castle - CA  (Julia Morgan was an architect we should all know about.)

Barstow Harvey House - CA (The Harvey Houses hold fascinating stories about westward expansion via train.)

Wheel Tracks From the Oregon Trail (Blow my mind please.)

Historical Sites in MN

Julien Dubuque Monument - IA

Laura Ingalls Wilder Points of Interest (Once you are open - we will be there).

(Also, I want to give a shout-out to this useful travel website that finds kid friendly adventures all around the Midwest.)

2. Design Dreams (Home Decor and Remodeling)

While spending a lot of time in the house due to quarantine, it’s hard not to be simultaneously grateful for it while also wanting to change it, overhaul it, and let it suck up our money.

I’ve been dreaming of a big map covering the huge wall where we go up the stairs, new light fixtures, new storm windows, new siding, a balcony where I can write a book, a new garage with a recording studio above it, a deck with a cacoon swing and a hot tub, a basement without kid stuff all over, ETC. (Obviously, some of these dreams are more realistic than others.) 

The bottom line is - as I spend more time in our home than ever before, I’m in love with the changes we’ve made already, and I want to see the place self-actualized. Collecting ideas gives me something to hope for, even if we never follow through on all of them. My husband? He has a longer list. (And he has worked out the realistic and daunting numbers of a sustainable home. Did I mention solar panels?)

3. Vintage Overhaul

I’m in full on maternity mode wearing clothes that were loaned to me (I love clothing swaps)! That being said, right now I often look like I’m wearing a bag. Remember how Marilyn Monroe looked good even in a potato sack? That’s not me. I need a vain dream. 

I’m overhauling my wardrobe once I feel like myself again. Last time I did this (early 20s), I lacked any sense of style and made some really poor choices I still suffer with.

  • Clothing from when I met my husband 14 years ago? Still got it.
  • Clothing from high school? I have a few of those pieces too.

(Like many ladies in the frugal community, I haven’t bought clothing for years upon years.) I have had other financial goals. But once I meet them, I’m getting some cool digs.This time I have a sense of direction. I have time to plan.

I won’t buy just anything at the used clothing store when it is cheap. I want to go vintage… every decade from the last 100 years represented down to a perfect “t.”

Do you think the racks will be packed after the pandemic? People have had time to clean out their closets. I want some I Love Lucy looks, Grace Kelly looks, obscure girl in the garden looks, and basically everything this beautiful lady does.

4. Old Writing/Dead Authors

I’m currently bouncing between the news and written works so old they’re timeless. (I’ve been documenting a lot of the books I’ve been reading on the Instagram account. I enjoy doing quick reflections while trying to capture the essence of a helpful message and quotes that speak to our time.) 

Oddly enough, a lot of these books were existing around the house (or in my husband’s stash) for years. I’d never made time to read them because I was always after new hip things at the library (which is now closed). From Native American Wisdom to Rachel Carson’s The Sea Around Us to reflections on The Creative Process by Mozart, Nietzsche, Jung, William Butler Yeats, Rudyard Kipling, Einstein, and others - this is where life comes alive to me. If I only went on the internet each day, I wouldn’t be able to function.

5. Maria Popova/Brain Pickings

Coming across this lovely person has made my year. (She certainly helps with my above task of finding old and meaningful books.) Lately I’ve been obsessed with tracking down every podcast where she is interviewed and listening to her thoughts.

She seems like such a good friend, kindred soul, and someone truly knocking it out of the park with a sense of love, direction, and passion for her writing. Even if you don’t think you know who she is, a lot of her writing floats around online and becomes viral. Her book truly gutted me and is something I will probably reread.

Here are some of my favorite interviews so far:

BBC Interview (Additional powerful thoughts are written out here on the age of information).

On Being with Krista Tippett

The One You Feed


Employee of the Month

Next week I will mention five more areas of life that are leading me through this time (including stellar role model women, music, health and wellness, and community).

How about you? Do your interests narrow when things become stressful? Have you become obsessed with a couple of things lately? Feel free to share below. 


6 Replies to “10 Things Worth Being Obsessed About During a Lockdown”

  1. Nice to see your keeping yourself occupied with these new obsessions. As a former Californian, I can attest that both Hearst Castle and The Harvey House are certainly worth a visit.

    As for me, the new focus/mini-obsession is planning future getaways since we’ve not been on any sort of vacay for 2 years, planning live shows we want to see whenever those happen to start again, fishing since the weather is finally nice and of course reading, with a particular focus on punk/post-punk.

    1. Awesome to hear that you have been to Hearst Castle and Harvey Houses! I love the state of CA and certainly hope to take our son to the ocean someday and explore the history.

      Your interests sound pretty similar. I think a lot of us are planning or dreaming of future getaways, soaking up some books, etc. Good luck planning those shows. I feel sorry for so many musicians and tours, it’s unreal. It must be stressful for countless numbers of talented and creative people – and it’s not their fault.

  2. One of my joys of living in Frederick, MD is that we have FANTASTIC Civil War history all around. From the Civil War Medicine Museum to Harper’s Ferry, Gettysburg, and Antietem all less than 30 minutes away, my kids are growing up with a wonderful sense of that era. If you ever decide to launch a Civil War vacation near the Mason Dixon Line, we’d love to join ya!

    1. Wow! Sounds like an amazing place to visit and right up our alley. I will put it on the list. I never realized how close together all of those places are!

  3. it’s been kind of business as usual around our place as i’m an essential worker…so i’m told. the only difference is lack of visitors but those are generally mrs. smidlap’s friends.

    1. I think it has been very interesting to see what is classified as essential and what isn’t under these circumstances. Glad to hear things are semi-normal for you. We are missing a lot of friends and visitors too. Life is very low-key.

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