It’s said that time flies when one has a good time, and I’ve often found that to be the case. And conversely, it doesn’t when you’re not.

That’s why a visit to the dentist or the doctor seems to take forever (no offense to you good medical people out there, but you’re on the other side of the white coat), and why vacations (when such things existed) are over and done in a flash. But, bucking conventional norms, the past year, from March 2020 to March 2021 really does seem to have flown by — and that somehow just doesn’t make sense.

It was not a good year by any stretch of the imagination, especially for those who contracted, suffered and even perished from COVID-19.

But according to mostly everyone I know comes the same mantra, “I can’t believe it’s been a year.”

Perhaps the greatest lament of the past 365-plus days has been not gathering with family and friends, not being able to take the afore mentioned holiday (as the Brits would say), and venturing to Mass, restaurants and concerts.

Yet, I did manage to engage in some activities I may not have otherwise.

Some of my pandemic perks include reading. Over the last year I have read more books since my college days (and back then it was out of necessity). I’ve read e-books and hard copies and I do prefer to actually hold a book in my hands and turn pages as opposed to swiping and pressing.

E-books are physically easier to read — basically needing only one hand — but there’s much to be said for munching on Doritos while trying to keep a Embracing a change in plans brand new book open to the page you’re soaking in.

Next, I gained a greater appreciation for the true football — soccer on this side of the pond. I never got into watching a game where a tally was a rarity and a final score could routinely be nil-nil. But with many U.S. sports on the shelf or modified, I watched Premier League Football from jolly old England, and while watching, I learned the nuances of the game, the strategies I didn’t know existed.

It still frustrates me to watch a nil-nil or one-nil game, but I’m watching the chess match between the teams and coaches as I would with pigskin games.

I’ve also been watching the America’s Cup sailing championship from New Zealand. I did always watch it when it was in the U.S. I make the effort now to record the races since New Zealand is 18 hours ahead of us.

It is exciting, but the “sail” boats today are not the sailboats of our grandfathers. They’re rather more spaceships than boats. But the strategies, maneuvering, and excitement are there to be had and enjoyed, even half a world away.

Also in my spare time, which at times would have been consumed by concerts or get-togethers, I have picked up the old axe(s) (rock slang for guitars), developed the callouses back on the fingers of my left hand, and find myself improving and learning new music. I may still make it to the rock ’n roll big time yet (and my friends say I have a ZZ Top beard now).

I also listen to music more now than I have in the past. I’ve watched sever[1]al rock documentaries and have dusted off some great old CDs and LPs for some relaxing at-home concerts, not having to worry about standing up every two minutes to let someone in my row go to the rest room.

Lastly, I do believe I’ve added five more years of life to my 2000 Toyota Camry. Since there is no place to go, I’ve driven old faithful much less than years past — saving wear and tear and petrol (it’s the soccer influence). Hopefully by the time I need a new chariot, it will be more like the current America’s Cup spaceships in style, speed and handling.

When life gives you lemons, it’s best to make lemonade — or better yet, a tasty lemon meringue pie (that one’s for you, Larry).

It will be nice to get back to normal, but in the meantime my horizons still broaden.