Friday, March 5, 2021

Here we are!


Here we are, though I’m not sure I can pinpoint exactly where “here” is. This Facebook memory reminded me that we have made it an ENTIRE YEAR of rolling with the punches, adjusting, pivoting, screaming into our pillows (and sometimes at each other), living in isolation, carrying extra stress, shrinking our circles, clearing our calendars of, well, basically everything. This global pandemic has turned our lives completely upside down. 

I heard a saying this week that summarized my sentiments so well. It went something like, “Isn’t it weird how every day feels the same and yet, when you look back a year, you realize that everything has changed?”

IS THAT NOT THE TRUEST THING YOU'VE EVER READ?!

I have always been one who likes to make sense of things. I like to bring order to chaos. And I have an innate drive to find good in the hard, mostly because I selfishly want to know that my pain or sacrifice was FOR SOMETHING. For better and many times for worse, productivity feels good to me. With this past year in particular, there is much to make sense of. I often have wondered how the history books will present these times we're living through. Though one could certainly argue that every moment is a part of history, this year feels like REAL history, history none of us in our wildest dreams anticipated would happen in such modern times. We are progressive! We have technology! We are medically advanced! And yet, here we are, pummeled by a tiny microscopic organism that has shut down the world. It is humbling, to put it mildly.

How has this year impacted us? Oooof. That is a really hard question to answer. In so many ways, we have been striped down to bare bones. We have been forced to show our hands. And oy vey, at times it has been ugly! Racism, sexism, rioting, violence, judgment. I don’t think I have much more to say on this that hasn’t already been said. The deep inner pain we have often kept hidden has been pressed to the surface. And hurting people are hurting people. 

The aftermath of this global pandemic, once it passes (and I think it’s important to remember that it hasn’t) will go with us for a good long while. This isn’t going to be something we all live through and then forget about after the majority of adults become vaccinated. Injured relationships will need to be rebuilt. Anxiety and PTSD and germophobia will be at all time highs. Healthcare workers will fall apart as they deal with the immeasurable grief they have been carrying, but haven’t been able to look at head on because they are simply trying to get through another shift. Kids will need to catch up on what they have missed academically. Adults and children alike will have to brush up on their social skills as they remember what it is like to have in-person conversations. We will have to re-train our bodies not to jump backwards when someone comes within 6 feet of us. We will no longer be able to cover our chin acne with a mask (ha, or is that just me?) 

At the same time, though the repercussions of COVID-19 are many, I need to put my stake in the ground and identify the ways good and beauty continue to show up around me. Hopefully one day, we will look back and see all the growth that took place amidst the hardship that this global pandemic has put in our paths. So today I’m going to list my top 5 "gratitudes" that have come as a result of this pandemic. I hope you will join me and sharing yours!

1) Lower lows also mean HIGHER HIGHS.

On Emma’s half birthday last week, she requested that we pop into our local pet store to see if they had any hamsters we could look at. Ordinarily, this would not be something I would view as “fun,” but I decided to be a team player and make her dreams come true. Never would I have anticipated the sheer joy that 5 minutes in an actual store as a family could bring us. We found the most hyper hamster that has ever graced this earth and we stood around his cage and belly-laughed as we watched the creature whiz around and around and around his tiny little aquarium, nonstop. Would this have been as entertaining had we not spent a year mostly at home with severely limited social interaction? I'm guessing no. I’m so grateful for the PERSPECTIVE I now carry that helps me appreciate the little things that I so often took for granted.  

2) I am learning (very slowly!) to set boundaries. 

Even typing that makes me extremely uncomfortable. This one will forever be a work in progress as I am a people-pleaser down to my bones. It has been really difficult to make the best decisions for me and my crew when they are different from those around me. It’s like one giant, long year of exposure therapy, learning to make my own choices, especially when they don’t please everyone. Oof. I still hate that. 

3) My BFF husband.

This stressful year most certainly had the potential to make or break us. I’m so happy it’s been the former. He has patiently listened to me ENDLESSLY PROCESS, all my inner wrestling that were previously a little more equally shared amongst my female friendships. Now he hears it ALL. ;) The pandemic has also pushed us to dust off our at-home creative dating skills and it has been fantastic to have most every weeknight free to spend together. He truly is my best friend (please cue a cheesy, "Awwwwww").

4) Have I mentioned my office is now a grow room?

I don’t think I need to say a whole lot more about this one other than to say never have I had this much time at home to sit and watch my plants grow! Graham designed me a custom built-in for my starts and then his dad helped with the construction. I now have what feels like endless room (at least for this second) to grow hundreds of different starts. I’m getting to try so many new and fun things and it’s lovely to have found a hobby that brings me so much joy.  

5) So much togetherness.

Good and also so, so hard, right? Though sometimes I need everyone to PLEASE QUIT TALKING AND ALSO TURN OFF THEIR AUDIOBOOKS SO I CAN SAVOR SOME COMPLETE SILENCE, I wouldn’t trade this year. Whoa. Do I really mean that!? I actually think I do. I have gotten to know my offspring so intimately this year and it’s been cool to deepen our relationship in ways that never would have been possible if they were off at school for 6 ½ hours a day (and if I weren't the one teaching 2 of them). Am I ready for them to head back to school? Let me think about it for a second…..YES!!!! But, I will treasure this year (in a love/hate sort of way).

Okay, now it's your turn! What are your top 5 "gratitudes" that have come in the midst of this pandemic year? I would love to hear the nuggets you have discovered as you have been stretched and shaped and grown. Though I’m sure none of us would care to repeat this year, I hope that one day, we can look back and be grateful for the ways it forever changed us. 

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posted by kelsie