It’s been a month since our family has been quarantined. In some ways it feels like a year, in other ways it feels like a couple of days. Time has been odd and moves at a different pace. Today I reread a post I wrote about 20 Things I Wish I Had Done More Of (<-link) and I realized some of those things I’m actually doing (dinner at the table) so I decided to write about the things I’ve learned during this time because I have been home. And you know the powerful truth is that I am grateful for this month, this month where I was forced to re-evaluate my busy.
- Friends matter and actions with friends matter more. I was the classic, “we’ll meet next Tuesday, okay?” kind of friend. Life would get busy and I would push off those times to get together assuming that next Tuesday would always be there. It was a bit arrogant, in a way, that assumption about life. Of course I knew life was fragile, I just felt that somehow I was immune from it. Well, since it’s been over a month since I’ve seen my friends I can see just how terribly wrong I truly was. I want to move from a “next Tuesday” kind of friend to a “how about today at 10?” kind of friend.
- I really appreciate those who work on the grocery store and all those essential service workers. I see them more now. Maybe this quarantine has stripped my eye from the blinders of comfortable actually. Just like my friendships I now see those workers, those people as so incredibly valuable. It’s not that I didn’t appreciate them before, it’s just that I was so busy (more on that to come) that I didn’t really say anything. Now the words, “thank you for working” come out of my mouth every single time one of them comes around. And those in the medical field? Heroes.
- My life was a race of busy. And most of the times I was so busy because I thought I had to be busy. I’ll catch myself working in the yard rushing and all of a sudden I’ll be like, “why are you rushing?” and remember there is nowhere to go. I really believe I was on such a fast track because I believed that was the right thing to do. This quarantine has taught me to slow down. To enjoy the process more. And to just be.
- Family dinner means so much. Since we have nowhere to go our dinners are spent together now. I don’t know why family dinner disappeared in my life – I think it was after my divorce and dinner was just a weird reminder of the awkward space we were in – but now, now since I’ve been remarried and we are blending families there is this wonderful time every day where we gather around the table. I don’t want that part to change when normal, or whatever looks like normal, returns.
- Everyone deals differently. Living in the same house with family for an extended time has taught me to see the nuances in how each of us deal. Some get moody, some silly, some, like me, need time alone, some get busy and on and on. We all deal in different ways and it doesn’t mean one way is correct. In fact, I love the quote about us all being in different boats. We all may have this virus thing that we are dealing with but each of our outlooks and perspective and experience is different. I’ve learned to love each other in the midst.
- We don’t need nearly as much stuff as we own. Example: I have two cabinets filled with games. Despite the kids being home we’ve played more with cards, the chess board and a couple games. It makes me question my, “let’s save the games for a rainy day” strategy because clearly, that day has come and they are all sitting there still. Less is more. I’ve preached that for years, but now, now I really see it.
- I don’t have to pick up every plate again. I know this time is challenging. I know for a great deal of us our normal was disrupted and all the spinning plates we were balancing, in a sense, crashed. But I also know, from my divorce years ago, that when everything crashes down you are left with a powerful moment where you can decide what you are going to pick up again. We don’t have to have schedules that make us crazy. Unless you love that. You see, you are given the choice, right now, to re-evaluate your life and to make those changes.
- Gratitude took on a new meaning. It moved from the cliche, “be grateful now” kind of thing to actively seeking and finding joy in the moment. It’s more about seeing the small things, the beauty in the normal, the rainbow after the storm, the way the birds gather at the feeder, the laughter of the kids. I see how much I appreciate times walking in the sun or the way the rain falls or how the kids race around the block on their bikes. I’m much more grateful for the simple and less concerned about the big.
- I lived life on hold, in a way. Prior to being home I was always waiting for the next thing to happen so I could start something. “Just wait until school is out” or “when the kids get older” or “when I have more time” and so forth. Well, now, I have that time and all of those excuses about waiting got debunked. I don’t spend as much time meandering around the store or avoiding what needs to be done. There isn’t anything on the schedule. The more empty the schedule became the more I realized how much I used the “on hold” as a way of procrastination. I love that I am able to see this part stripped away a bit. Is it uncomfortable? Yes, but growth happens in the uncomfortable.
- Life is really about making lemonade. I sat with my bonus son, Alex, last night and shared with him the analogy of taking lemons and making lemonade. He was having a rough day, missing friends, missing normal and we just sat and talked. And I told him how powerful it was when you can look at those lemons and decide to make something good with them. I could see the peace and relief wash over him. I really believe this is powerful because it recognizes the hard, doesn’t dismiss it, but puts the power back in your hands. We’re all in this lemonade making space.
Sending love to you,
oh yes, and I miss Target. Just saying.