One year ago, our kids, who haven’t picked up sidewalk chalk in years, spent an early spring afternoon “Chalking the Walk,” my husband fought hoards of shoppers for the last 9-pack of toilet paper at Sam’s Club, and I carefully planned a Surprise15th birthday party for our youngest and all of her friends on Zoom.
I think we can all agree it’s been crazy (bordering on insane) year and things we never dreamed could happen, did. The level of fear, anger, frustration, and overwhelm as a result of shutdowns, stay at home orders, or mask ordinances caused us to shake our heads over and over and over again. Yet when we peel away the surface reaction and emotions, we can see the past year has brought us so much more than angst.
For me, the pandemic has gifted some important lessons about life. The first one being the importance of living in the present moment. I have personally known people who got sick with COVID, some who got well and others who passed on. We’re meant to treasure each day and to be growing and fully engaged in the relationships that are most important in our lives. No one knows when they, or someone they love dearly, will be living their final hours. This lesson was illustrated over and over again through the year.
Another important learning… human beings are more alike than we are different. Despite the turbulent political climate and deeply felt social injustices, there were countless examples of people coming together and rising above the turmoil.
At the end of the day, try as we might to put ourselves in boxes labeled this or that, we all use behavior to get one of six needs met: acceptance, affection, appreciation, attention, autonomy, and connection. Though sometimes shown in aggressive and destructive ways, this is ultimately what each of us survives on. Look at any disaster, our best selves show up when we are working together.
And lastly, this year has been a gift of knowing change is hard but possible. We can adapt to even the most difficult environments and situations. Though we may not want to; when push comes to shove we find the resolve within ourselves to make accommodations. People have learned how to work from home, kids have adjusted to a different kind of school year, and we’re beginning to shift to the idea that our next chapter will not look like the one before 2020.
What have you learned during this past year? What adjustments have you had to make in order to adapt to what’s been out of your control? I’d love to hear about it, reach out to me at [email protected].