I came across a hand-written list at work yesterday, compiled a little over a year ago when I was preparing to take a natural egg dyeing museum program to almost 40 local classrooms. Not a single one of those programs happened. The note felt like it had been written in another lifetime, by another person.
A whole year we’ve learned to live with this pandemic, and it hasn’t been without its lessons.
Make time for the things you love. Slowing down is okay. Clearing our schedules meant I had more time to walk and write, and I’m healthier in mind and body because of them. I definitely want to keep these practices even when things begin to open up again.
Connecting can be done in many ways. Isn’t it amazing that even in quarantine, we could do things like virtual school and Zoom dinners? However, I don’t think those things can ever replace face-to-face interactions, either professionally or personally. I, for one, need hugs and carry-in meals.
Dark times can be a crucible. Losing life as we know it can bring to light crucial issues and force us to respond and react. We can see what’s important and whether or not we’re holding on to it tightly enough.
Treat every time like it’s the last time. Before everything started shutting down and we were asked to isolate, we really had no idea what was coming. Many were forced to spend months on end apart from loved ones, and many lost loved ones to COVID. It was an unpleasant reminder that we aren’t guaranteed any more than the moment we have right now.
Enjoy what you can, even when things are hard. Virtual school was hard, but we had schedule flexibility and got to spend way more time with our kids than we normally would have. And going on furlough and collecting unemployment was rough, especially when my benefits took FOREVER to come through. But furlough allowed me to finish my novel much quicker than if I’d been working that whole time.
Take care of each other. This is my dad’s favorite phrase. I hope we all learned a little more about what it means to make sacrifices for another person, whether it was staying home, cancelling events, wearing a mask, and/or washing hands until they were red, chapped, and peeling. I’d like to think that in the course of this pandemic, those who took proper precautions each saved at least one life.
I hope you are hanging in there. I hope you are still wearing your mask. And I hope vaccinations for you and your loved ones are close at hand.