Life Lessons

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.

Keep Growing …

Keep Growing …

I recently met a group of ladies who made an impression on me. They were getting together a few times per month to talk about how they wanted to grow in order to improve their lives. I immediately felt connected because I am always looking for ways to grow and be better.

Then it occurred to me that not all people desire this. What makes one person strive for growth, and another person seem content to remain the same. No judgment here, nor a criticism.

My conclusion is that some people were lucky enough to enjoy more positive experiences than negative. Those with more negative experiences seem to want to break that cycle and change their lives. ­­And I am one of those people.

I have had my share of not-so-great experiences, but those things are what made me who I am today. It is those things that make me push for more and encourage me to make the changes I need to make in order to have a great life.

Personal growth is a choice. I encourage you to choose it.

You do not have to read a hundred self-help books or attend seminars or hire a life coach. All you have to do is say to yourself, I choose to grow.

Look for opportunities, everyday opportunities, that present themselves as you go about your day. If we are open to them, we will begin to see them.

For example, you may be standing in the grocery line feeling annoyed that the checker seems to be taking her little sweet time helping the customers in front of you. I have to admit that this has been me at times, especially when I have a long list of things to do that day! In this moment, decide it is an opportunity to grow.

This life lesson is a growth opportunity in patience. Change your thinking from thoughts of frustration to thoughts of patience. Maybe keep a notepad with you so at times like this, you can use the time to be productive. You could answer some emails, check your calendar, or make tomorrow’s list. Choose to grow.

I like to keep a journal and write down things about my day. I notice things about myself that I otherwise would have overlooked or forgotten. But when I write them in my journal, I can reread my thoughts and continue to learn from my own experiences.

Of course you can read books, attend seminars, and hire a life coach. You can do anything that helps you to keep moving forward in your life.

Keep growing and learning. The alternative is staying the same.

Featured photo by kike vega on Unsplash.

Change One Thing

Change One Thing

When I want to make changes in my life, I often get overly ambitious. Something motivates me to make a change and suddenly I have ten more things I want to do daily.

For example, eating healthier is a common goal. I make a list of what eating healthier looks like on a daily basis. Drink more water, eat three or four servings of vegetables, take a multi-vitamin. I get overwhelmed because I try to change too many things at once.

When I can’t do everything, every single day, I usually quit. It feels discouraging.

I find it is best to change one small thing at a time. Even a small change, done every day, can have a big impact on your life.

Choose one small thing to change today and do it everyday.

Featured photo by Chris Lawton on Unsplash.

Alone vs. Lonely

Alone vs. Lonely

Within the span of just a few months, I experienced a divorce and an empty nest. The pain was great. One minute I am living with my spouse and daughter; the next minute I was living on my own and my daughter had moved out. The hardest part was having so much time alone . . . to think . . . to feel . . . to experience. I felt so lonely inside that I could actually feel physical pain as well as emotional pain.

I looked up books and articles to read in order to learn how to overcome this feeling of loneliness. What I discovered has completely transformed the way I view being alone versus feeling lonely.

Being alone . . . this IS a condition or a state of being. It is a fact. You are either alone or you are with people, hence not alone. Stating your condition simply just identifies that fact.

Feeling lonely . . . this IS a feeling or an emotional state. It can also be a fact. You are either feeling lonely or you are not. Stating how you feel helps to recognize how you are emotionally.

I realized that just because I am alone, doesn’t mean I have to feel lonely. I thought the two went hand-in-hand, but they don’t. A person can be in a crowd and feel lonely or a person can be alone and not feel lonely.

Loneliness is just a feeling like happiness, or sadness, or anger, or excitement. Feelings change and pass over us. We can change how we feel just by changing our thinking. It is impossible to think happy thoughts and feel sad inside.

Being alone, on the other hand, just states a fact. If we don’t want to be alone, we can start dating, attend social events, and invite friends or family over.

I took all this new way of thinking and decided to reframe how I feel about being alone. I decided that I was going to be happy as a single person and make my life everything I want it to be. I fill my days doing things I love doing and I have fun all on my own.

Now, I actually enjoy my time alone.

Featured photo by Fabrice Villard on Unsplash.

Say NO to Good

Say NO to Good

Do you have a closet that you wish was just a little bit bigger? No matter how much you try to squeeze one more thing in it, you just can’t because it is full to the capacity.

Time works the same way. But because it isn’t tangible, we keep stuffing more and more in each day. In reality, time is limited and each day has a maximum of 24 hours. We must choose how we spend those hours and sometimes it is no easy task!

Living a life we love requires us to make choices. We have to say “no” to some things in order to make room for the better things. Only you can decide what is important to you and what is worthy of your time.

Spend some time looking at your calendar. If you are constantly on the go, running crazy, or never getting to do the fun things you want to, then it is time to say “no” to some good things, and “yes” to better things.

Featured photo by Andy Tootell on Unsplash.