It’s a crazy and somewhat scary time in our world. I’ve never experienced anything like it in my life.
As I enter week four of staying at home, I can’t help but notice all I’m learning from this experience.
I hope when I go back to the way I lived before I ever uttered words like Covid-19, social distancing and flattening the curve, life will be different. I hope it will be better, that I will be better.
Since self-quarantining, I notice I’ve become more:
1-Resourceful: In my town, like many across the nation, grocery stores can’t keep items stocked on the shelves. Thus, my family has had to limit what we buy, as well as limit our trips to the grocery. For that reason, I’m working hard to use the food we have and not let any of it go to waste. Leftover mushrooms? Saute them. That red pepper I bought last week? I’ll add it to tonight’s salad. That frozen pizza sitting at the back of the freezer? Let’s call that lunch. This is the way my family used to always live, back when our children were small and our budget smaller. I’m grateful for the reminder to be more resourceful, less wasteful once again.
2-Conscious: Having extra time at home means spending more time with my husband and youngest daughter (the older two live on their own now). The outcome of this is that we’ve talked more, taken long walks, watched movies together, worked puzzles and cooked. This extra time with them is a blessing to me. Soon my youngest daughter will go off to college. Life will get busy again. I hope when staying at home ends, I don’t forget to maintain my focus on the people who mean the most to me.
3-Sensitive: I’ve always been perceptive of the emotions and energy around me. You’re sad? I feel sad. You’re excited? I’m excited. Sometimes I wish I wasn’t so easily affected, as it can be draining. Yet feeling all the feels makes me empathetic, and it means I care. Since being quarantined, I’ve made it a practice to reach out to people I know every day via phone, email or text. I’m realizing that connecting with people, even if it’s virtual, brings me great joy. It matters much more than reading one more article on Facebook or crossing one more thing off of my to-do list. I sure hope I can remember to continue reaching out to others once we’re through this crazy season.
4-Mindful: Every day I’m tempted to turn on the news, watch the latest press conference, check the statistics. But doing this often leads me down the rabbit hole. And the rabbit hole is a dark, damp, and muddy place. I’ve never been a news junkie, but right now I am consciously limiting my daily intake of all news and social media. In the first weeks of being at home, I didn’t do this. I learned the hard way that too much is too much for me. Tuning in less, focusing on the positives, this is what keeps me productive, calm and happy. I still struggle with this, but I’m getting better all the time. After this is over, I want to continue being aware of what I’m putting into my brain and the effect it has on me.
5-Self-Aware: In the first few weeks of being at home, it felt like I did nothing but give in to my preference to eat chips and binge watch every show I’d never got around to in my pre-Covid life (Oh man, Ozark is intense). One day, as I was writing in my journal about how unproductive I’d become, two words popped in my head: Define productive (Hmm, thanks, God). The answer of course is different for everyone. For me at that time, it was getting up, showering and getting through, whatever that looked like. It was facing my roller coaster of emotions and giving myself grace in this new and upside-down world. Guess what? As soon as I allowed myself to do what I needed to do for my emotional health, everything else settled. Now my desire to be a sloth has (somewhat) subsided. I definitely have my days, but I’ve discovered being attentive to my emotional needs is the best way for me be productive and more importantly, happy.
6-Faithful: I’ve spent years growing my faith in God. I even wrote a book about it. But that doesn’t mean I’m there yet. I don’t have all the answers. I’ve never lived through a pandemic before. I’ve never seen such fear in the world before. I’ve never been witness to such personal and communal loss before. I could turn away from God. I could be angry with him, question why he has allowed this to happen. But suffering has been around since the brink of time, this is nothing new, just new to me. God has always given us choices. So I’m choosing to trust Him. I’m choosing to rely on Him. I’m choosing to be thankful in the midst of suffering, because: It makes all the difference.