We’ve been living with pandemic restrictions for a full six months now. In California, I’m guessing, we’ll be in lockdown for the rest of this year and into the next one. I feel like a fish adapting to breathe in brackish water – not swimming in the clear, clean water of normal life, but not tossed about in the cloudy, roiling surf of pandemic panic either.
Facemasks feel normal now, choosing what to watch and read every night has become a quiet pleasure, makeup no longer matters . . .
When I was in coaching school, several of the books we read asked us to look at changes and challenges in a different way. We were to ask ourselves: “How is this happening for me and not to me.”
Lately I’ve been thinking about that question – about silver linings. I absolutely LOVE not commuting to client meetings. I adore not flying, not exhausting my body by moving it from place to place. I love having time for long replenishing walks, for grocery shopping and cooking, for as much reading as I’d like to do, for exploring the classic movie catalogue on HBO Max.
In lockdown a walk with a friend is a magnificent treat. Hot water and fast internet are a blessing, and the flowers I see on my walks are a miracle. I have become acutely aware of the privileges in my life, and of the people who live without so many of them.
There are so many things I’m getting better at during this time of enforced quiet – I’m finding patience I didn’t know I had. I’m more resilient, more flexible, more adaptable. For the first time in my adult life, I am being more than doing. It’s strange and wonderful to give luxurious attention to the moments of daily life and to feel so grateful for them.
In 2018 I pushed myself to complete a 100,000 word memoir. In 2019 I pushed myself to write a dozen personal essays (and to cut that memoir down to 80,000 words). I had to accomplish things!
In 2020 I’m not pushing myself to any writing deadline. I’m writing what feels right when it feels right. I’m giving each piece I start lots of time to breathe between edits. This permission to be expansive and relaxed about productivity is a whole new thing for me – maybe the best silver lining of all.
I hope that you’re finding some silver linings in pandemic life too. And that as our world blossoms again, that we’ll remember and bring along our silver linings.