Joy and Loss in Unprecedented Times
We are living in an unprecedented time, and since there is no “blueprint” for how to live and work through an extended period of physical distancing, it makes it difficult to orient life – we don’t even know how long we’ll be physically distancing. We are having new conversations politically, and as a society, that point to the level of impact this virus will have. Conversations that bring home the need to stay the course, while accepting that even with these drastic measures there are many lives that will be touched, and much is still unknown
...it is a bit of a mind-boggle to see things progressing, while many pieces of life are standing completely still.
This time last year my family was immersed in hockey play-offs and planning team wind-up parties. I am sad that my son has not had the chance to say good-bye to team mates he is unlikely to be playing with again next year. He is complaining because all the runners that fit him are at school, making do with boots and sandals now that the weather is nicer. These are small, insignificant, sacrifices but they do have an impact, either through inconvenience, uncertainty or a lack of celebration, lack of closure. Life moves on. Babies are born, nature is changing seasons – it is a bit of a mind-boggle to see things progressing, while many pieces of life are standing completely still.
..it’s healthy to mourn the loss that this circumstance has brought...it’s also healthy to find joy during this time...
And it’s healthy to mourn the loss that this circumstance has brought; job loss, weddings held without ceremony; birthday parties missed. Not being able to give your parents a hug for fear of infecting them. It’s healthy to turn away from the news, and do what you need to do to keep your spirits up. It’s also healthy to find joy during this time, getting to the things that you haven’t had time for; time to do “nothing”, time to immerse yourself in a hobby, or parts of your work you couldn’t get to until now. It’s healthy to be completely unproductive for defined periods of time because that is what you need, and to wear pajamas during the day because “why not”. It’s healthy to be grateful that you don’t have to go to that event you were dreading (even when that cancelled event was someone else’s dream shattered).
Give yourself credit for being an extraordinary human at an extraordinary time...
This unprecedented circumstance will continue to produce both joy and loss, sometimes in the same moment. It is difficult to process oscillating emotions, navigating between highs and lows, all bathed in uncertainty. You are doing it right in whatever way you are doing it. Give yourself credit for being an extraordinary human at an extraordinary time – letting yourself feel it, as gloriously messy as that is.
My work has changed significantly since mid-March (2020), pivoting from paid leadership training, workshops and coaching, to maintaining coaching programs and donating my time and expertise where it is needed most. Your life has probably changed quite significantly as well, juggling new and current responsibilities in an environment no one foresaw.
I did not realize the ramifications to my well-being (or that of my family) to having to plot our lives around our busy schedules...
It’s made me happier. Clearly not the impact of the virus and pandemic on the health and welfare of human beings, but the permission to stay home and sink into this work I love, working in a new way. I did not realize what the ramifications were to my well-being (or that of my family) to having to plot our lives around our busy schedules, weather, transit, traffic, parking, pick-up, drop off, cooking, working, school, homework, lifework, meetings...
...we’re being more kind to one another, thoughtful.
And as it turns out the jammed-pack timing of our lives was making us very unhappy. Staying at home with your loved ones in uncertain circumstances is stressful, and I was really concerned we would come out of this at each other’s throats, on edge from being too closed in and not having enough variety in our days. So far, that has not been our experience. We’re pitching in, we’re being more kind to one another, thoughtful. We share three meals a day, the prep, eating together and the clean-up. That’s not been consistent for us before as we went flying out the door to get to work or hockey, or something… or flying back in the door only to collapse on the couch and try and catch our breath, vulnerable to any further requests on our limited energy (“Oh good you’re home! Can you…”), important requests that supported eating together at home, really making time for each other, etc. The good stuff.
Listen to your life, it has much it’s been trying to tell you, but it’s been too noisy to hear – until now.
In the midst of the most unpredictable circumstance I could imagine, my little family unit has found peace. Coming together in ways I yearned for, but our lifestyle did not support. Magically we have all figured out what is really important, and it is the acceptance, love and embrace of family. I could have told you all the things that we needed to work on together in my house, but I would never in a million years have noticed the source of our discontent was almost exclusively external (and directly connected to choices we control and make). We have been collectively passing our energy on to everything else, not leaving, or giving, enough for/to each other.
Maybe you are getting glimpses of some different but interesting things too; things that point to a need to re-prioritize, to re-arrange and to change once we are inevitably back to “normal” life. Listen to your life, it has much it’s been trying to tell you, but it’s been too noisy to hear – until now.