don’t waste the crisis

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Photo credit: Pawel Czerwinski on Unsplash

It is inevitable. No way to escape it. No place to get away from it all. We are living through a world and life-changing global pandemic, the likes of which we have never seen before.

So, what do we do now?

I’ve spent a lot of time – inside – considering and how to avoid the virus. I’ve practiced healthy habits to survive the shutdown changes and emotional cost of the pandemic.

Recently, I’ve wanted more. Instead of thinking about what has been so awful and limiting about living through these crazy times, on those rare days when I have a little bit of extra emotional energy, I want to focus on the positive.

What has been positive about this global crisis?

What new things have I learned about myself and my relationships that I don’t want to forget or I don’t want to lose?

  • Self-awareness is power. I know better how I react under fear and limitations. I know my triggers and what to do when discouragement or hopelessness shows up. This new knowledge is gold. Well, not as pretty as gold, but precious all the same.
  • Relationships that have endured through trials are more transparent, honest, and empathetic. I’ve had more profound and real conversations with people about our impact on each other and how to compromise to make unexpected circumstances work for us. I can ask for help (on a rare occasion). These interactions reflect growth for me and are worth celebrating.
  • My concern for others has increased. I have taken more initiative with neighbors to ask how they are and if they need anything. This is easier because we are all at home and outside more often. I’ve made more phone calls, sent more notes, prayed more. I do not want to lose this.

What have I learned about my work style?

  • Life-giving work gives me purpose. Younger generations get a bad rap for caring more about the meaning and contribution of a job than the earning power or status. I think I am more like that than I realized. Mostly, I have liked working from home. I enjoy the freedom of not dressing up and no commute. I can still get work done that matters, sometimes more. I am wondering how these truths can factor into my future work.
  • I like learning. Zoom. Innovative strategies. New options for in-person traditions. Pivots to thinking, doing, structures, procedures. We CAN change and sometimes much faster than we thought. When we return to normal(?), I don’t want to lose my openness to trying something new.

What new positive habits have I incorporated as part of my life patterns?

  • More exercise and sleep. My phone and watch trend data say I have slept more hours on average compared to last year. My walking miles are also up. No commute has given me a bit more margin. How can I keep this up as the days go on?
  • I’ve discovered some new hobbies. Not only has my reading increased, but we play more games as a family. I’m growing a few scraggly herbs on my back patio and inviting monarch butterflies to my flowering milkweed in a small grassy patch in the front. Somehow the weight and drain of the pandemic made refreshing activities essential rather than optional. I think they’ve always been essential. I just wasn’t aware like I am now.
  • We spend less on non-essentials. We eat better and healthier at home (except for the occasional junk-comfort foods). We buy online from a curated list of needed items rather than window shopping or impulse buying as we wander leisurely through a store. We have more money to invest in worthy causes, needs, issues, and people.

I didn’t think about this list before I started, and I now know I could continue writing for much longer than you would want to read. I’m encouraged by that. I’ll stop now and let you consider your “I don’t want to waste” list.

What have you found positive in this crisis that you don’t want to waste?