AT THIS POINT WE KNOW we’re living through history, through an unprecedented global shift, through something our kid’s kids will tell their kids about and maybe even refer to as the Eternal Spring Break.
If you are like me, you’re still doing “all the things” (making meals, doing laundry, working two jobs, trying to keep tabs on your kids school work and bring them together for some quality family time), but as I’m doing the things I wonder how I can create a different life post quarantine, to make actual changes and shift my priorities so I can slow down the pace of my life and become more intentional with my time because I now fully realize how much I’ve been neglecting myself and our family in the pursuit of all the things.
The past month has been an uninterrupted opportunity to spend time with my husband and kids (15,17,22,26) by taking long walks, sitting down to dinner together, having movie and game nights, and dancing around the house in an effort to entertain ourselves and to remember what matters when you can’t go anywhere. For the most part it’s been great for us, despite looming financial fear of how we’ll land on our feet after this quarantine shakes out. Yet as good as it’s been for us, I know there are some families for whom the past weeks have served to highlight the brokenness that was barely noticeable in the previous hustle of everyday life.
One of the most important messages I’ve heard and tried to share during COVID is the importance of taking good care of yourself so you can be the calm, present and emotionally stable adult in your child’s life while their world has been turned upside down. Not always easy. I really hope that you have found a way to give yourself some grace by sleeping in, reading that book you never had time for or watching that Netflix series you never thought you’d get around to. Our kids really do need us to be well rested and patient so we’re willing and able to give them the extra time and attention they need right now…remember, we’re all new to this and no one is doing it perfectly.
One of the thoughts continuing to nag my gut is the fear that nothing of real consequence for families will actually change when the world starts up again…I worry that while we might keep up the extra connection for a few weeks, we’ll slowly go back to prioritizing the events, material goods/services, and meaningless accolades that have been adding clutter to our lives, stress to our days, and mindless chatter to our brains.
If you too are experiencing this pit in your stomach, I know what it is…it’s our souls screaming, “Pay Attention!” Never have we been given such an obvious and drastic opportunity to gain some much needed perspective about life!
You see, life is not about “all the things”. It’s about who we choose to be everyday and how we show up for ourselves and the most important people in our lives…our families, friends and communities.
It’s going to be difficult to resist the messages to “get back to the way things were” when restrictions lift, but I believe we can take the steps to reinvent a more intentional way of living. While there may be a certain comfort in returning to the old schedules…at some point we will realize we’ve abandoned our evolution in the name of the familiar culture of chaos we were living in.
It was not working for us and it wasn’t working for our kids as evidenced by the increase in mental health issues.
While doing all the things that need doing, I continue to ask myself, “How do I want my life to look after this and how do I have to grow so I can begin living that life?”
If we take the time to do the quiet introspection I believe we’ll each find an answer as to how we can make changes post COVID for a peaceful pace prioritizing connection over achieving all the things.
I don’t think it has to be complicated…what if the shift comes down to a simple decision to say “No more! I am taking back my life and that of my family as well.”
The quarantine has stripped us of a lot of our exterior life, the relationship to ourselves and our relationship with others has become front and center. In so many beautiful ways we’ve given to others during this time. I believe you too can find the courage to sit in stillness and follow your inner wisdom to be more intentional with your time and to continue to build healthier connection to yourself and to your family.
There is a clear invitation every morning as we wake up and it feels like Groundhog’s Day once again: Take a breath, take a moment, and take a step into reinventing the way you’re living life.