How Are You Different?

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We have gone through so much in the past year.  We’ve adapted, bent, scrambled, mourned, watched, processed, prayed and hoped as our lives changed in ways it was impossible to have predicted.  Many have experienced vulnerability, fear and worry in new ways too.  As we in this country breathe in signs of hope for positive change, we also reflect back upon what we have learned.

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In the piece, How Will You be Different? written many months ago, I reflected on the possible subtle positive shifts that may be happening with a world halted, leaving us peering out our windows.  I wondered if the forced slow down might have allowed people to notice things they hadn’t before.  Could creativity have been sparked as we sought ways to keep ourselves occupied with the majority of our routines, activities and social meet-ups stripped away?  And while the unnatural amount of time couples, families and roommates sharing homes spent together was taxing for some, might it allow others to relish in a deep appreciation for loved ones?  I also pondered whether people post-pandemic would make contact with a deeper sense of gratitude.

My grandmother used to say, “Who’s got tomorrow?”  Boy, was she right.

As we wipe the Covid-19 sleep out of our eyes with cautious optimism, I am better able to see ahead.  My shoulder tension is easing up a little and I am better able to dream, look ahead and imagine.  The fire of hope has been stoked and is smoldering.  This is being reflected in my friends, family and with many clients in my therapy practice as well.  It is glorious.

Having written the above piece well in the throes of Covid and now writing as we have been on a national decline , things opening, life returning (with a sad awareness that the virus continues to take a grim toll), I’m further reflecting on a few other things that have become more clear.

Do the things that bring you joy.  Early in the pandemic when the days were feeling monotonous, I started to bring my tennis racket to a local back board and hit balls.  I did this every day for weeks, often the only person there.  Once in a while there was a nice younger woman doing the same and then another few times an older woman who would walk from her house, not particularly dressed for for sporting but yet with her purse in one hand and racket in the other.  This activity became one of my athletic outlets and with earbuds in my ears blaring music, I hit the ball against the wall that stood next to the locked tennis courts.

This daily routine brought me joy and kept me mentally afloat.

Now that things are more opened up, I play tennis again regularly (on tennis courts) and have gone back to youth baseball photography (as games are finally back on), another passion in which I achieve true flow, basking in the joy of total immersion.

“Who’s got tomorrow?”  Do the things that make you happy.

Connect with those who feed your soul.  In the past year I have spent time with far fewer people than ever, my immediate family and friends nearby. Like for many, the pandemic forced a focus on my immediate orbit.  Having recently connected with a handful of very old friends out of the area, who really know me as I know them, it hit me.  Moving forward I will never lose sight of the most special and valuable people in my life.

“Who’s got tomorrow?”  In the end, your most meaningful connections are what life is about.

I challenge you to reflect upon the positive aspects of how you are different than you were a year ago.   What are your learnings and silver linings?  Without question, the negative consequences of this pandemic are profound.  Is it also possible many might rise up out of this pandemic like a butterfly from a cocoon.

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