I have found myself with pockets of free time throughout this pandemic.
Free time is not a new concept to me – I enjoy taking portions of my day to exercise, get outside, watch a good TV show, or dive into a new book. However, the free time I have now is unique because it is often spent solely with my family or by myself instead of friends, colleagues, or relatives. Having a new rhythm so secluded from the rest of the world (aside from Zoom and social media) is a strange concept, yet I have had full, rich time to reflect on aspects of my life I am grateful for, areas where I wish to grow, and ways I am evolving daily throughout this unforeseen scenario.
In the midst of this free time, I have enjoyed journaling and writing notes to myself to document my experience with this pandemic. These notes and entries often focus on three key areas: what I miss most from normal life, what I appreciate most now, and things I want to learn from this situation. Within the words I write I find a mix of nostalgia, longing, and appreciation all mixed up in a string of text. Maybe you find yourself in this place too. Maybe you are grateful, grieving, and confused all in the same breath or paragraph. If this is you, you are in good company. Below I will share some of the things I miss about normal life, what I am appreciating about our new normal, and things I hope to learn from this crazy situation.
What do you miss most?
I miss our community the most. I miss playing tennis on a warm spring day with my friends, sharing a laugh in the office with my team, and having my boy’s friends over for playdates. Our physical spaces used to be filled with people we love dearly, and now the closest thing to this is Zoom or FaceTime. There is something so special about being able to see someone’s smile in person, give a firm handshake, or share a laugh/cry with one of your favorite people. I love my family, and we love our community. We are blessed to have amazing people who invest in our lives, and our family is missing them deeply.
What do you appreciate most?
I appreciate my family now more than ever. While some days of self-quarantine my patience wears thin, I am thankful for the uninterrupted time I have with my peeps. My husband, Shawn, inspires me daily, and our boys have been so resilient adjusting to virtual school and life at home. I appreciate our good health as well. I know many people and families have been significantly impacted by this virus, and my heart goes out to them. Our son, Wyatt, has Type 1 Diabetes, so his immune system is not as strong as the average person. He has been in good health throughout the duration of the virus, and we are thankful for the continued support of our families.
What do you want to learn from this?
I have learned a lot about mindset through this challenge. While your mindset will see you through tough times, grace will give you space to process. With such a bizarre situation, I have experienced many new and mixed emotions nearly every day. Learning how to have grace with myself is something I hope to take away from this pandemic.
Another area where I have experienced growth is learning how to relax. On vacation, relaxation seems normal…it’s the reason you go on vacation to begin with! But now, we are working and homeschooling from home. Our teams and schools are on our computers, and we have access to those devices 24/7. How do you determine when it is time to relax vs. when it is time to do work vs. when it is time to help the kids with schoolwork? Our normal cues that it is time to relax are no longer intact. As a result, I have been working on intentionally carving out time for relaxation and practicing being mindful and present with myself, my team, and my family.
After all of this is over, I hope to grow in grace, relaxation, and mindfulness. So…where are you today, friend? How are you feeling? Let these words be your cue to check-in with yourself and set aside some time for self-reflection. If you do not know where to start, try asking yourself the three questions I have asked myself here. First, what do you miss the most? The answer to this question may evoke feelings of grief or nostalgia, and that is OKAY. Second, what do you appreciate the most? Find a few things to be grateful for during this season. Lastly, what do you want to learn from this? Life can be altogether hard and overwhelming, yet we can still grow along the way.