Let’s be honest . . . I am an introvert. So being told to stay inside and clear my schedule didn’t sound terrible to me . . . until the dates kept being pushed further and further out, and it slowly seemed like more things were being taken away. But quite honestly, this entire thing has given me perspective and realized that what has been taken away cannot amount to what I have been given in return.
There are days that I struggle like everyone. I work from home, and my three-year old daughter stays home with me all the time. So while one would think I should have this down pat, I don’t. Every day is different, and you never know what life will throw at you. Now I am balancing this new normal, while trying to keep my pre-teen daughter entertained as well. Some days I hide in the bathroom and social distance myself from them and the dog. Seriously.
But on the flip side, I think being forced to slow down is a breath of fresh air. All the schedules have been cleared. We have no agenda. I am using this time to reconnect with myself, nature, friends, and my kids. I think we have all gotten so busy with life that it has been hard to stop moving. But now? We don’t have a choice.
Each morning, I begin my day with a quick walk around the neighborhood. I can’t tell you the last time I just walked and listened to the sounds of nature. Or when I did, I viewed it as an exercise I had to get done to burn my calories for the day. It felt like chore, not a blessing. Usually the sounds of the air are filled with the sounds of cars, people, and life swirling around me in a hectic blur; but now, I hear the birds, the wind, and the peacefulness of mother earth. Being present and just taking the time to start my day with gratitude has really changed the way my days flow.
I find my family having more dinners at the table and talking more. Typically, we are all in a rush to eat dinner, do homework, finish work emails, or watch a tv show. We have turned the television off more and chosen to eat together and play a board game. Or we go on a night walk with the dog. Sometimes we have a dance party on Tik Tok (seriously, my new obsession). Then the girls might pile up in my bed while we FaceTime family. Other times, I relax peacefully while hearing them playing and laughing together from the next room, and my heart is so full. If life had not come to a screeching halt, we might not have as many nights like these.
I have found that since I cannot have face-to-face human interaction, I video conference more with my peers and colleagues. My daughter and her friends have been writing letters through the mail. I call friends more to hear their voice instead of sending a quick text. As a society, we have become so accustomed to technology—and that isn’t all bad. But it has taken the human connection out or our exchanges. I feel that this big time out the country has been forced to take has hopefully reconnected families, friends, spouses and parent/child relationships.
So while I cannot wait to go have a sit down dinner with my friends at our favorite local spot, watch sports, go shopping for summer clothes, or attend church, I am not eager to go back to my “normal” routine. I want to take these times and remember the positivity that came out of it. The relationships that blossomed and grew. I want to treasure the times I spent being thankful for everything I have — the things I had taken for granted. And I want to make sure I am not just filling my schedule with “to-do” items but filling them with things that matter. There are always lessons to be learned from every single season we go through. These are the things I am learning. I hope you are finding positive things in this time that you can carry with you as well.
Remember, every day won’t be great! There will always be challenges, and we can’t control what is going on around us. But we can control how we react. We can choose to be present and grateful for the things we have today. It is ok to grieve the things we miss or the things we have lost during this time. But at the end of the day, I am choosing to look at my biggest blessings and carry on with happiness, gratitude and hope and do more living instead of just doing life.