A year or two ago, none of us would have pictured our lives today. I suspect that in our wildest dreams, we would not have imagined a COVID-19 lock-down and how our lives have changed, our daily routines ruptured, and physical connections to family and friends disrupted.
Forever the optimist, I challenged a good friend to reflect on the unintended gifts/blessings from Covid. Rather peevishly, he asked, “Like what?” So I counted the ways: I’ve tried my hand at vegetable gardening (I will never be great at it, but I like the experience of seeing something grow!), I’ve gotten really good at connecting with family and friends via zoom, and finally, since I don’t travel as much, I actually finished reading books that have been on my reading list for months.
I challenge you to reflect on things you’ve learned during this period. Has the pandemic pushed you to become more tech savvy on your mobile phone or tablet? Have you found apps that assist you? Or have you discovered entertainment you may have passed up in the past? A new game like Best Fiends, music on Spotify, or podcasts like Hidden Brain, Home Cooking or Very Presidential. Did you travel the world – virtually? Go to Paris, or visit museums in many countries? Were you able to find resourceful ways to continue exercise programs while your gym was closed? I find that walking early in the morning works for me while a colleague prefers late afternoon for her walks.
Stepping away from technology, what are the lessons you’ve learned about yourself? Many of us require socialization to feel whole. Did you discover ways to be alone, that surprised you? One friend has begun to bake beautiful, healthy scones with rosemary and coconut sugar. Another has challenged herself to produce a piece of watercolor art every day. And because they connect with others on social media, they can share the bounties (at least visually) of their labors. It does seem that the internet has been a mainstay in much of what we’ve done.
But looking outside of ourselves, where did your innate curiosity about our world take you?. Did you thirst for knowledge that you may not have had the time for in the past? Were you interested in learning about another country or culture? Did you investigate how to learn/practice another language? Did you acquire new hobbies or go back to hobbies of your younger self? Did you find volunteer activities that satisfied your need to connect and help others? Did you finally relax and give yourself permission to just be, even for a little while?
Have you made plans for how you will live differently when restrictions are lifted, and safety is restored? I imagine we’ll all rush to see loved ones whom we’ve missed, but beyond that, what more will you do? The gifts from this period could truly extend beyond recovery from the pandemic. Who knows, new insights about ourselves and others can open vistas we hadn’t imagined! Here’s to those gifts – may you have many more!