We’ve had to stop visiting, touching, hugging. We’ve endured isolation, separation, unemployment. We’ve embraced technology for both work and social connection and we wish it was all over. Now that the vaccines are rolling out, the end is in sight – but will it ever be the same again?
There is no doubt but that the experiences of these past months will leave an imprint on us and dealing with this will be a challenge. For some the changes have been good – life has slowed down, we’ve had a chance to evaluate our priorities, appreciate our relationships. For others, there have been great losses – births, marriages and deaths – unable to be part of these life events in a meaningful way; we have endured financial uncertainty and the future seems a scary place. Vulnerable groups have suffered the most, having little control over their lives – children, teenagers, old people, those with additional needs – they have little say in what happens, but their need for social engagement is great and the loss has been profound.
Take some time to evaluate all that has happened – the changes, challenges, pain and delight – what has hurt and needs to be healed and what would you like to keep? Don’t rush this exercise and include others in the conversations – family, friends, colleagues. Drill deeply into your thoughts and keep away from the things others or society in general says you must do. Allow the real you to speak. How do you want your life to be from now on? I know this is easily said and we all have responsibilities we can’t shirk from. Even within these responsibilities, can we do things differently? Can we throw light and joy into corners that previously were drudgery and irritating?
How to do this? My way is writing lists!
- Who are the people who matter most to me? Family, friends, colleagues. How can I include them more?
- What brings me joy? Can I have this in my life in a meaningful and fulfilling way?
- What are the responsibilities that I have? And, by the way, responsibilities are not always bad things.
- What are the changes that I have had to make this past while? How can I continue any that I think added value to my life?
Spend time on these thoughts, discuss them with friends. If there is hurt and loss that needs healing, find the professional who can help you. See if you can imagine a new way forward that gives you a slower, reflective, fulfilling life – the life you were meant to lead!