I read somewhere recently that in the thick of COVID-19 uncertainty, we are collectively exercising an express lack of imagination if we rush too fast to try to make things go back to normal. As businesses and activities continue opening up and cases of the illness begin re-surging, it should be clear that nothing is the same even if we pretend it is.
It might sound strange, but somehow, within this unsettling time of mass upheaval, we actually have more options for our lives than we can possibly imagine.
The reality is, we’re all experiencing a new way of life. If we get curious about it and wonder within ourselves about how we might make some inspired changes, this time could have much to offer us. What do we like or dislike about how the days have looked, how they’ve flowed, and what we’ve chosen to fill them with, or not? How different are our priorities currently, and what might this tell us about who we are, and how we want to show up in our lives and in the world? What do we want to hold onto, and what are we willing to let go of, moving forward?
We have a choice about how we respond to change.
A few weeks ago, my husband and I helped dear friends of ours move into their new home, from our own. They had been living with us for 7 months after they downsized when the last of their three girls was settled into her sophomore year of college. Not able to find a new place before closing on the sale of theirs, they were contemplating renting an interim apartment when we offered that they stay with us until they found Home.
When I tell people this, they gasp in disbelief, saying I can’t imagine having people living with me for that long! Big changes, yes; I’m not going to lie. And, in actuality, it has been a fun, energizing, and enlightening experience.
With their arrival came changes. We sorted and cleaned. Got rid of things that have long outgrown their functionality and purpose. We made space in the fridge, freezer, and pantry for them. We moved our home office to an upstairs bedroom. We immediately began meal-planning together, cooking for one another, cleaning up together, and enjoying a daily happy hour where we could check-in and connect after our busy days, especially important for all of us once COVID hit.
Now that they’re gone?
I’ll be honest, it was a bit of a thrill eating dinner on the couch in front of the television the first night on our own after their move, an informality we had missed on occasion. But when it came time to retire that same evening, instead of leaving the dinner dishes unwashed, which we never did when our friends lived with us, I happily took care of them, enjoying the feeling of completion knowing the kitchen was tidied up for the next day. Simple but significant. Taking time to contrast “life before housemates” and “life after housemates” offered the opportunity to reflect on our habitual way of doing things, what we might want to hold close to, and what we were willing to rework.
Change changes us; it is its nature, and frankly, ours as well. It seems obvious, I know, but it’s an interesting inquiry to explore how often we turn our back on change in stubborn childlike resistance, in a futile attempt to return to what is known, whether it is actually what we want or not.
But if we let life go back to business as usual without consideration, we do ourselves a grave disservice. Pun intended.
So, I wonder what might happen if you let yourself get curious and imagine: What unexpected things have you discovered about yourself and your life as you are living it during this time of COVID-19? What changes might you want to lean into and incorporate as you continue to find your way forward towards a life more aligned with what’s important to you?
We’d love to hear from you about how you are navigating the changes of this time, especially as the restrictions of COVID-19 shift and things are openings up. On the main page of our website www.endinmindproject.org we have a feature where you can record your story and let us know how it’s going.