In the past few months, many of us have been forced to really slow down. Whether we’ve lost our jobs, had them suspended, were told to work from home, or had no choice but to quarantine due to health problems and local laws, the world has experienced a period of great pause that made it possible to reflect, reassess and, hopefully, re-experience the world in a new way.
Even if you’re one of those people for whom the pandemic meant additional hardship and challenge, those negative situations too have changed you, and now is the good time to figure out where to go from here. Will you allow your circumstances to continue to take control over your life, or will you try to think of a better and more meaningful life where hardship is still a part of it, but it’s no longer something that has to overwhelm you?
The key to making changes in our new post-lockdown reality is to be able to connect to others. We are now allowed to expand our “bubbles” to more people. Places of business are opening up, as are parks and beaches. In other words, things look like they’re going back to semi-normal (for now, nothing will be like it used to be—who knows maybe it’ll never be like it used to be). For those reasons, we no longer have excuses to self-isolate and avoid human contact. This is the time to reach out for help if you’re struggling to make plans with friends and loved ones (maintaining social distance or not, really depends on the individual instance). We no longer have to stay at home to save lives, although we are encouraged to be very cautious and mindful if we do go out. As annoying as it seems, I think it’s great how we now have to literally think of others all the time before we even leave the house. Wearing a mask means you care, observing distancing rules means that we care. These extra precautions that we have to take now show us how much we depend on each other.
And if anything these past few months taught all of us how important it is to pay close attention to all of our surroundings—people who are close to us, our home environment, what happens outside of our homes. It seems for a lot of us the focus has sharpened, the things that seemed important became trivial. Those things that seemed inconsequential became important—such as being solely responsible for keeping our children occupied and happy (a job that used to be split between families and institutions such as schools).
I’ve learned a lot from this time in lockdown. I did learn to pay closer attention to my loved ones and my surroundings. I thought I was mindful of those things, but it turned out, I could still calibrate my focus further to pay better attention. We became closer; we became more reliant and appreciative of each other. We also learned to slow down and enjoy our reality as it presented itself NOW, we became mindful, and with all of that came a unique kind of happiness. I hope you can find the same, I hope you can pause and really notice those proverbial little things that truly count.
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