It is a muggy summer morning. The calendar says it’s July. How can that be? The first half of the year now vanishes into misty memories. Every year around July fourth, I scratch my head in wonder, “How did half a year fly by? Each day has twenty-four hours. Yet the first half of the year seems faster. This year’s solitude makes summer’s arrival seem particularly quick.
Wasn’t it just Christmas?
Don and I were shrink wrapped to each other for over a year. At first it felt restrictive. Then comfort set in. I painted more. Enjoyed online experiential painting classes. Don spent hours working on his model train layout. He took online harmonica lessons. We gardened side by side. We took long walks. We did yoga in the family room. It was not perfect. We missed our children and grandchildren. Holidays were shared via zoom. Dinners with friends disappeared.
Clearly, our experience in no way reflects the general population. That was obvious when I spoke with my friends who are therapists. They are working long hours and have began taking client waiting lists. Depression and anxiety pushed many people to seek help.
The pandemic rattled all of us.
As a therapist, I learned that to change a behavior we often need to first disrupt it. The pandemic interrupted our regular routines. Many of us did soul-searching while we were home alone. That interruption plus more time to consider what we value created an opportunity for change.
“We have changed. Work has changed. The way we think about time and space has changed,” says Tsedal Neeley, a professor at Harvard Business School and author of the book Remote Work Revolution: Succeeding From Anywhere.
Other Researchers Say Workers …
Are considering a move to less populated areas
Want to make family time a priority
Crave jobs that offer flexibility
These are dramatic cultural changes. Many now see a different life that they long to create. It will be a challenge to maintain that desire as our pace accelerates. What were the lessons during all that solitude? How do we stay rooted in the discoveries we made? Wash your hands more frequently? That was definitely a takeaway. But there are also deeper more soulful lessons.
Naming them keeps them alive.
My calendar is still pretty open. It is true, I create it. I can say no to uninteresting events. It sure was easy when the choice was made for me. July will bring a long-awaited family visit. Delayed eye doctor appointments will happen. Women’s Circles are now back in our family room. Dinners with friends have resumed. Don and I do appreciate the freedom to be out in the world and to welcome others into our home.
There is much to be grateful for and much to remember.
Months of soaking in stillness let me listen more deeply. Last summer as I quietly prepared for bed, after a day in the garden. I heard a flower calling to me. It said, “Remember me!” A crimson red cosmos flower flashed before my eyes. I hope I never forget that moment.
The next morning I took a picture of the flower. It is posted with this blog.
Nature is always calling to us. Busyness drowns out her subtle voice. My flower reminded me that we are deeply connected to nature. We can experience it, if we pause and pay attention. My pandemic vow is to keep listening. I promise to regularly pause and pay attention.
Did you make promises or vows during the the sequester?
Have you named them?
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