Life Lessons

Just a mere month ago, I was looking forward to spring. I was planning things to do outside and excited to plant some herbs. I was enjoying the doves that had decided to raise their young on my balcony. Meanwhile, I had no clue what was coming.

We have been sheltering in place for five weeks or more and although I enjoy being home, it is beginning to feel very stifling. However, as with every experience, it is important to find the life lessons and the opportunities for personal growth.

When this pandemic threat is over and people are allowed to leave their homes, a “new normal” will emerge. Our lives will not be able to return to the way things used to be, but hopefully because of this experience, we will develop a way of living that serves us better.

With this in mind, I began to think of how I have already changed by sheltering in place. Here are some of the lessons that I have learned:

I learned what matters most. When a crisis occurs, it is easy identify what matters most. Now is a good time to define your values and develop a life that supports them. Family has always been my most important value. This crisis solidified that for me. Nothing else matters to me other than the health and welfare of my children and their spouses. Make sure that the choices and decisions you make are aligned with your personal values. Values are the “why” behind what we do.

I learned to make my values a priority. Priorities are similar to values, but not exactly the same. Priorities are the actions we take, the choices we make, or the desires we pursue. It is making one thing more important than another thing. Priorities are the “what” we choose to do over another choice. The choices we make each day are really a reflection of our priorities.

I learned to live each day to the fullest. The thought of a life-threatening virus existing in 2020 is something most of us never imagined we would face. After hearing how many people have died because of this virus makes me recognize the seriousness of what we are going through. In an instant, our lives could be threatened. It reminds me to live each day to its fullest.

I learned to respect the boundaries of others. In the literal sense of the word, we must physically allow people to have their boundaries. We have all become painfully aware how far six feet can be when we want to hug a friend but cannot. The days of pushing through a crowded store are over, or maybe that is wishful thinking.

Another type of boundary is not seen physically but felt emotionally. For example, it may not be alright for a friend to offer unsolicited advice or to be bossy. For the relationship to continue in a healthy way, a boundary must be set and respected. Keeping six feet away from people, is a good reminder to respect emotional and personal boundaries.

I learned the importance of sharing. I was standing in the grocery line at five o’clock in the morning when all this began, hoping to buy some toilet paper. I did manage to get a twelve roll pack and while waiting to check out my purchases, the lady in front of me said, “I would like to think that in a time of need, we would all share with each other, but it seems unlikely since people are hoarding toilet paper.” Isn’t that sad? When it comes to community, most people are individual thinkers instead of thinking what is best for everyone.

I learned to reduce, reuse, and recycle. Never before have I been as acutely aware of wastefulness as I am now. I have one roll of paper towels left and after this crisis, I do not think I will be purchasing them anymore. I have found other reusable methods for cleaning up spills, washing the floor, etc. I want to reduce my household’s waste.

I learned to appreciate myself as I am. Beauty is only skin deep. We all know what this phrase means especially after this time of isolation. Without our regular beauty appointments, our appearance may reveal someone we would like to hide. Learning acceptance is far more important.

I learned the importance of eating healthy. We are what we eat! Keeping a strong immune system is the most important thing we can do for ourselves right now. I recently have changed my lifestyle to eat a whole-food plant-based diet and feeling better than ever. Without our health, we really reduce our quality of life.

I learned to slow down. The best part of sheltering in place is that my calendar is completely open. I can wake up each morning with the time to stick to my morning routine and take care of myself. There are no demands that pull in different directions. I have had the time to journal, reflect, and ponder.

These are just some of life lessons I have learned during this time of isolation and I am sure there will be more before this is over. But since I didn’t want to forget them, I wrote them in my journal. This experience is unique. Hopefully, we will all grow and become better! I would love to hear some of your thoughts and the life lessons you are experiencing.

Please comment below! Stay safe and healthy. I am sending my best thoughts to you!

Featured photo by David Marcu on Unsplash.