There are so many things that I miss from my life prior to March 2020 – all the things that this pandemic has changed about my simple everyday life. I miss the ignorance of my privilege and freedom, I miss the misplaced assumption that I was in charge of my life and the choices I made. And then there are the things that I don’t miss – the ‘normal’ I do not want to go back to.
Some of the minor things I miss being able to do: I miss the ease of wandering around at Winners with a way too expensive Starbucks coffee in hand, picking up random items, and imaging where I would put it in my home. I miss the casual friendly conversations with random people I would meet. I miss jumping out of my vehicle without a thought except making sure I had my phone, keys, wallet, and….a tampon just in case. I miss being able to make spontaneous plans to go places and see people. I could write a list a mile long of all the things that I miss.
And then there are things that I don’t miss: things that I didn’t even know that were part of my life that didn’t serve me. Things that I assumed were just simply ‘part of life’ and I had to do, well because I saw everyone else doing them. I call these things ‘obligations’
How long was your list of obligations? I know that mine was really long! When the world came to a halt and no one was going out or seeing anyone outside of their ‘bubble’, all the social obligations also came to a halt. I hadn’t realized how many of my activities had been born out of obligation. It’s not that I didn’t enjoy the activities, it’s just that the main reason for attending was because I ‘should’. I’ll be honest, I wouldn’t have stepped away from all of the obligations on my own, but I will admit that my life has simplified without them. I feel more in charge of my time while being selective with what I’m giving my time to.
The other list that came to a screeching halt is the list of all the things I would do to keep myself “busy” – to keep myself running around getting things done for the sake of it. You know what I’m talking about, all the errands, shopping for the perfect top, finding all the items to make that new dish, planting the plants, getting the fence fixed, planning and hosting family for the birthday dinner… and the list goes on and on. See, the thing is that we’re constantly living up to Jones’s, but who the hell are the Jones’s anyhow and why are we trying to keep up with them?
What will make it back to the list? I don’t know yet – what I do know is that I won’t let obligation dictate my time anymore. I’m going to be really selective and not allow guilt to coerce me into falling into the obligation trap. Here are some ways I plan to determine what should make it back on the list:
#1: If you say yes to it, what are you saying no to?
Every ‘yes’ comes with a ‘no’ – if you say yes to helping with the garden, you might be saying no to reading or having your personal time; if you say yes to the many dinner invites, then you might be saying no to relaxing at home.
Every time we say ‘yes’ to something, we are saying ‘no’ to something else. Before you jump into all the yes’s take some time to consider the no’s you’re also giving out – the worst is the no’s we give to ourselves in order to please others.
#2: Scheduling time for self-care
We have had a lot of time in smaller bubbles and more time for downtime and self-care. When the world opens and we’re all excited to get out into the world again, we can easily forget to make self-care a priority. This can easily lead to the busy life you had before where you’re running around from one thing to another while depleting your energy levels. You can take your time and the best way to hold yourself accountable is to schedule your time – the visual of a schedule will help keep you accountable to yourself.
#3: Did you miss it?
Ask yourself what you actually missed with the restrictions. There are plenty of things, activities and people that you didn’t miss – be honest with yourself. It’s ok to admit that many parts of your past life weren’t serving you and you don’t miss it – this allows you to set some internal boundaries and not allow them back into your life.
Don’t allow anything back in that you didn’t miss when it was suddenly gone. Your time and energy are of high value; you’re the only one who will keep your time as a priority.
Take your time, take a breath and think about what you want your post-covid crisis to look like. Our previous ‘normal’ wasn’t all that great – it’s a perfect opportunity to reconstruct your life and your time because your energy, time, and wellness are worth protecting.
Thanks for reading,