I woke to the sound of chickadees singing life into spring, bluejays squawking, and woodpeckers tapping a rhythm beneath it all. As I lay in bed listening to Mother Nature’s soundtrack, I thought about how our lives are changing in dramatic ways over a short period of time.
While there’s much to grieve – the way things used to be, the loss of jobs and businesses, the broken systems that must be replaced, or the comforting touch of a loved one, there’s something quite significant and wonderful that’s happening to humanity and the planet.
People are waking up. We’re asking bigger, more existential questions and rethinking our priorities. We’re recognizing and experiencing the value of simplicity, silence, the gifts of nature, and how precious our time and energy are as we go about our new daily routines.
The earth is breathing easier, too. Just this week, I read a report that the tops of the Himalayas are now visible for the first time in thirty years because of the reduction in smog and air pollution.
I’m fascinated by these changes and every chance I get, I ask people to tell me what they’re learning about themselves and their lives while in lockdown.
Here’s some of what I’ve heard…
I’m very happy working from home and I don’t want to go back to commuting an hour a day.
I’m learning how important it is to take care of myself during the workweek. For years, I spent too much time focused on the job and not enough time on me.
My relationship with my teenagers was always good, but now it’s even better as we put down the phones and computers and actually spend time together.
I’m experiencing the blessing of a quiet house. I didn’t realize how noisy my life had become.
I’ve spent more time at our local park in the last month than I have in the last two years and I love it!
I’m spending more quality time with my husband and our dog and it feels precious to me. I’m realizing that these relationships are what really matters.
I’m not wasting anything. I’m making food from scratch using what’s in the pantry and fridge, and I’m rethinking every purchase. I’m actually enjoying being more frugal and resourceful.
I, too, am learning a lot. There are some meetings, for example, that are much more productive and effective over zoom than in person (and I’m loving the commute from my living room to my office). I don’t need to go to the grocery store or post office more than once a week. I can save time, money, gas, and mental energy by eliminating certain busywork that’s not really necessary.
Oh, and I’m also learning that housekeeping can be very therapeutic ????.
I love that people who never used certain technologies are now being inspired to overcome their fears and share their talents with others. My sister, Donna, for instance, taught a gentle yoga class on Facebook Live – something she never in a million years thought she’d ever do. And my mother-in-law called this week and asked if I’d ever used instacart (I haven’t). She was excited to let me know that she would now be getting groceries delivered to her front door and that she just might continue to do so from now on.
Yup, life as we’ve known it will never be the same and that might be a good thing.
That said, every day my heart breaks for those who are struggling to feed their families and wrestling with the anxiety about the future and the uncertainty of so many areas of their lives. I’ve been holding hands and hearts since this whole thing began and there’s such a need for comfort, strategies, and support. One of the greatest blessings of this time is the way people are stepping up to help one another.
If you’re so inclined, I’d love to know what you’re learning about yourself? How have your priorities shifted? Have you done anything new and surprising? How might your life change once we’re able to move about again?
I pray that the positive internal and external changes stick as we grow to appreciate the things we may have taken for granted. I also pray that we continue to move toward simplicity, wise spending, good self-care, and a slower-paced, more intentional way of life.
Life Makeover for the Year 2017(sm) is written and produced by Cheryl Richardson.© Copyright 1999-2016 Cheryl Richardson, P.O. Box 13, Newburyport, MA 01950, http://www.cherylrichardson.com. All rights reserved. Used with permission.