The coronavirus of the last 14 months seems to be waning enough for the pandemic restrictions to being slowly lifted from our daily lives. Undoubtedly, there will be studies and research data on what the world has learned from the impact of this global pandemic on all levels. The following is my own reflection of lessons learned from living through the coronavirus pandemic.
10: Habits and Hobbies
The monotony of the pandemic lockdown expressed itself in a variety of ways. While I relied on my hobbies of reading, writing, crocheting, my husband, Vinny Sal relied on his hobby cooking and baking. Our physiques sadly did not survive our love of comfort foods or the critique of new recipes.
In short, we learned that when and if we make it to retirement, Vinny Sal needs new hobbies. His only other hobby is golfing and that is not a realistic hobby when living full-time in Michigan. The Owl on the other hand kept busy reading, writing, crocheting. During the summer months, I enjoyed my daily trips to the beach to swim and daydream. Yet the pandemic lockdown forced me to look at my habits including my expanding waistline.
I was fortunate to work 100% remotely during the entire time in lockdown. Daily routines and habits began changing and not always for the better. I enjoyed the freedom from wearing cosmetics and business casual dress gave way to daytime and nighttime pajamas. I enjoyed waking up to eat breakfast without worrying about what to take to the office for lunch. I enjoyed traversing the hallway to my office versus commuting during rush hour. I now had more time for me, right?
I looked like hell most days unless I had a work Teams meeting. Even then there was not much preparation but brushing my hair and maybe applying a bit of mascara as not to scare anyone. All that newfound time for me resulted in binging Netflix and on food rather than fasting intermittently. On some days, I wore the same pajamas way past their expiration date.
I learned that I need the routine of healthier habits. I have incorporated making lists and setting timers even when enjoying my hobbies. I no longer want to waste a day.
9: Controlling the Uncontrollable
I not only was wasting too much time binging; I was wasting too much time on social media. I finally ditched my personal Facebook page just before the Christmas. The news throughout 2020 was causing such anger and anxiety I was rapidly losing my peace. My oldest son commented that we were living out the plot of a dystopian novel which further depressed my outlook for my children’s future. I cannot control the world, but I can control what I allow the world to feed me.
8: Cancer taught me how to live.
I was diagnosed with chronic myeloid leukemia on September 25, 2020. In my blog series, Today’s Reality, I recounted my leukemia diagnosis and the months following my diagnosis. I am suspending that blog series and I may never return to writing about my leukemia again.
As reported by NPR.org on May 6, 2021, a new study shows more than 900,000 people have died of COVID-19 in the United States since the global pandemic was announced and worldwide the COVID-19 death count is nearing 7 million deaths. I do not want to write about anyone’s journey because we are all on the road to an ending.
7: Rightsizing Expectations
I will make the most of today. God will take care of tomorrow.
6: An Inner Fierceness
I realized I have the innate ability to stand face to face with any adversity, stay mentally and spiritually strong, and to fiercely pursue a higher purpose.
5: Breaking the Cycles
Lockdown had a way of bringing everyone down on the same level. While we were not all in it in the same way, COVID-19 touched each of our lives around the world. It brought us all to a level of vulnerability. Vulnerability reveals our strengths and our weaknesses. And my pandemic vulnerability highlighted my weaknesses in ways to help me break the cycles that I believe have kept me from achieving all I can be in mind, body, and spirit.
4: Power of Impatience
I usually think of impatience negatively and while there were many who were angerly impatient with the pandemic lockdown, the pandemic taught me the positive power of impatience. The power of impatience brought about a vaccine this is now helping us to resume our lives again. The pandemic taught me to personally evaluate impatience in a new way.
3: The Poetry of Stillness
I am coming to my top 3 lessons of the pandemic. My third lesson is the poetry of stillness. In my life lessons from 2020, becoming still as I am surrounded by so much noise is seeing my life as poetry. I practice the art of being still so much more now. Stillness for me is wiping all that is going on around and within me until it is a blank slate until I am ready to move forward again. I am easier on myself that I have been pre-pandemic.
2: Embracing Joy
I have spoken a great deal throughout many blog posts on the topic of finding joy. The pandemic taught me that when I find joy to fully embrace it like a hug that does not want to let go.
1: The Frivolousness of Happiness
I sincerely believe in seeking out mental health therapy to help one determine who we are, why are we here, and what we should be doing with in our life. Many people including me have spent large sums on this type of help. I wish more people had access to mental health services. The pandemic taught me what a therapist could not and that is happiness is frivolous. I took trying to be happy too seriously pre-pandemic that now I accept whatever happiness comes my way in this moment and on this day. Like the song says, “Don’t worry. Be happy.”
The Blogging Owl
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