Most of us have been dealing with the Coronavirus and COVID-19 for at least four months. We are spending more time in our homes and less at retail establishments. We have limited our exposure to some of our loved ones due to concerns related to the virus. While summer is in full swing, our vacations and usual summer activities are not. We do not yet know if schools will be back in session in the fall. It is a major understatement to say that life as we knew it has not returned and may not. We are living with a new normal. While some of the changes we are experiencing are difficult, some are providing a much-needed respite from a frenzied lifestyle. Perhaps it is more productive to focus on the gifts of this time than the losses.
Our greatest gift is the gift of time. While time is a constant, how we spend it isn’t. These past four months most of us have had more time to spend with our nuclear family, cooking and eating together. Some have become fulltime educators while also working from home, realizing the value of our teachers. We have a new appreciation for essential workers and have learned firsthand what isn’t essential. While we miss being able to dine without restrictions in our favorite restaurants, we have learned that exercising at home can be a good substitute for gyms. Board games and puzzles are at an all-time high demand, and book clubs have become virtual.
Our new normal provides more time for relaxing and doing nothing. Winnie the Pooh’s quote on Christopher Robin, “Doing Nothing Often Leads to the Very Best of Something,” describes this gift perfectly. While we may miss the ability to be with our friends, doing things we enjoy doing, we now have the gift of more time with ourselves. With less time with others and more time with ourselves, we are able to live Brene Brown’s message, “True Belonging Can’t Happen Until You Belong to Yourself First.” This is a powerful thought.
In “normal” times we are able to plan our lives, focused on goals for months and even years in the future. While life has always been somewhat unpredictable, the inability to know when we will be on the other side of this pandemic has taken unpredictability to an all-time high. Now, many of us are suspended in time, with our focus on goals being waiting on our governors’ next announcement of what businesses will be able to reopen when. The gift of now supersedes our focus on the future.
We can’t change our current reality, so we might as well enjoy its gifts. I choose to do so. How about you? Are you willing to lean into the present, accepting its gifts?