Pandemic has been hard, really hard, but as time and quarantine grind on, I realize that this time has forced growth I’m not sure I would have gotten to so readily. These gifts help me to see each day full of possibilities and not endless dread. It seemed worth writing down for the future reminder.
It’s ok to have a bad day. Pre-pandemic I strove to achieve. As a life long perfectionist, each day was a new quest to achieve, attain, and succeed. While in retrospect this isn’t the healthiest life modality, it worked pretty well. Until it didn’t. It’s not possible to have all good days. It’s not possible, or healthy, to always stick to the carefully curated plan of a ‘perfect’ life. Moreover, the self shame, and chastising I practiced on a regular basis were drawing me further from my goals and delivering more ‘bad/off/misguided days.’ My definition of success now includes and embraces the off days. Cinnamon roll for breakfast - no big deal. One glass of wine more than budgeted - no worries. It’s all ok.
It’s ok if it’s not working - be bold. This applies to so many things during pandemic, I just ate a salmon cake for breakfast. The best example comes from my son. He’s never really fit in with his peers. He’s struggled with friendships. He was always the single odd duck in a flock of chickens. A new friend, yes that can happen in pandemic, suggested J might be gifted. As it was her area of expertise, we took a shot on a fully online private school aimed at gifted students. Bam! He found his academic stride and his tribe. He finally saw others freely expressing themselves and is finally doing the same. He’s no longer ashamed of the long hair he loves, and has spent the last week singing musicals. I never thought fully online school could work, but it does! Far from stifling his socio-emotional growth, he’s finally free and excelling.
Meaningful connection can happen in the middle of a pandemic. I am a self-professed lover of stories. As I’m sure many people, I started to feel increasingly lost and apathetic. During a Zoom call I was blessed with someone’s story. It so inspired me. So I decided to ask other women I admired about their stories. I made a new friend, got involved in a brilliant long-term research project, and feel ablaze with hope and possibility. Now is the perfect time to step out of your comfort zone and make meaningful connection - Zoom has it’s upsides.
Don’t be afraid to pivot. I started out pandemic strong professionally. However, as businesses shuttered their doors, and universities stopped using adjuncts, I was left in the same space as many other Americans. Apathy hit hard. I read an article about improving mood during this time and decided to volunteer my time. I took my skill set and helped some local organizations with their communication. Not only did it help, but it shone the light on a new niche to explore. A niche with increased meaning and purpose for me personally and professionally. Pivoting isn’t easy, but it could lead you down a road of brilliance you never imagined. If you aren’t sure how - go collect some stories!
I still miss my family, traveling, and eating out. It has still been hard - my son’s obsession with putting songs on repeat has killed at least a half dozen classic songs. However, making 9am salmon cakes and dancing around the kitchen to the Grease soundtrack is something I will never forget. So I embrace the tough days and cherish the moments as they come. Gratitude and resilience make even the toughest seasons beautiful.