As promised, I have returned with part 2 of what I’ve learned from March 2020.
While this seems like the best time to be productive, give yourself grace.
In this extra time found in the confines of our homes, we enter one of two tendencies – the sense to be uber productive or to veg out and completely cut off the outside world. Some are trying to rebuild their routines so it fits this new reality. Others spend their hours planted in front of their tv screens, catching up on content and video games. The extremes of these tendencies are actually the worst things we could force upon ourselves.
I suspect we already know why the constant screentime and binging of Netflix shows is bad for us, but the question remains: If you have the ability to work harder than you ever have to get ahead, why wouldn’t you?
You’d be missing out on what this time has for you. For most people, this pandemic is unlike everything they’ve ever seen before, at least not on this global scale. But if you spent your days working at your job nonstop or hustling on your side hustle, you’d be missing out on what this moment has to offer you.
This is a great time to connect with long lost friends. A time to cherish your roommates and family members. A time to take a walk outside and enjoy the nature around you. This is a time to settle into your favorite pastimes – reading, writing, dancing, whatever makes your heart happy. Nonstop work is keeping you from all that you could be enjoying while trying to catch up to a world that will be utterly changed when we return to it.
In the midst of your greatest opportunity to be productive, take a chance to settle down and enjoy what it means to be at home.
What if good is what comes out of this mess?
Our anxieties and fears are at all time high. We watch the news and our body tenses up, the latest adding to our fears, rather than erasing them. When we are afraid of the future or of what life looks like, we tend to darken our prospective circumstances. We come up with the worst scenario and live our lives as if it was inevitable. However, we can choose to live our lives with a new perspective.
What if good comes out of this mess?
What if amidst the grief and the heartache, we grow in empathy for our fellow humans? What if being stuck at home, we learn to rebuild community? What if going to the grocery store became an act of loving our neighbors and our neighbors loving us? What if we continued to check in on the sick and remind them of our love? What if we leave the confines of our homes in better community as better humans?
In the darkest moments, it is not easy to be hopeful. But sometimes, hope is all we have, Let that be enough.
Your yes is actually your no
In the busyness of life before the pandemic hit, I could say yes to anything and it seems like I was unstoppable. I was a fulltime student, involved in 3 organizations, had a paid internship, and still managed to nurture my social life, while eating, sleeping, and continuing to uphold the basic needs of a normal human. Now everything has shifted online. It’s so much harder to be productive when there’s no personal accountability except across a screen.
School still goes on and finals are coming up for me. However, I can’t continue to be involved as I had been. It’s been incredibly difficult, and I realized, that whenever I said yes to something I was actually saying no. Whenever I said yes to a club meeting, I was saying no to a spontaneous adventure with a friend. When I said yes to a meeting with a professor, I was saying no to an event with a speaker.
We don’t like to admit it, but life comes with its tradeoffs. The sooner we realize we have to tradeoff one thing for another, the more carefully we will consider saying yes.
Some things are for your growth. Others actually stop you from growing by taking your time and energy. Be careful to prioritize what is worthy your energy and what isn’t.
Old loves can resurface when you slow down
This time at home has made it plain to me that there are parts of myself I have been neglecting. I have neglected my love of reading. I neglected creating playlists and finding new artists I love. I have neglected listening to podcasts and having a routine for relaxation.
Our lives have been curated for busyness. With a harsh stop, we are now able to collect our thoughts about where our time goes and why. What have we forgotten in our race to go… where are we going again?
I’m not saying pick up an instrument and write all the moody poetry of your high school days. I’m just saying take some time to get back into something that got put on the back burner when you made room for productivity instead of rest.
Dust off the piano, Open an old notepad and get back to something you used to love.
Catching up with old friends
Are you a lover of nostalgia? Do you dust off your high school yearbook for an old spin every six months? Are you a collector of old notebooks from your younger years? If you answered yes to one or more questions, I think you should get in touch with old friends. I know what you’re thinking – “It’s so hard, I don’t have anyone’s cell phone number, things are tough, we ended things on bad terms.”
Given how crazy the world has gotten in the last month alone, you have no idea what someone is going through, It would mean the world to someone if you just reached out to check on them. If you think of them, you should at least take some sort of action. And if nothing comes of it, you don’t have to wonder about reaching out, you’ll already know.
Calm your fears and reach out to them. Talk about your life. Ask them if they have a need for anything. Be open and honest. Don’t let a day go back wondering about them. Go on Facebook, go on LinkedIn, ask an old high school friend. Try to connect to others in any way you can. You have no idea what could be going on in someone else’s life.
Musicians are giving us something to hold onto
If you think I included this point so I could give you some music recs, you are right. On the Late Late Show with James Corden, Dua Lipa performed “Don’t Stop Now.” Taylor Swift just sang “Soon You’ll Be Better” in One World:Together at Home. Kelly Clarkson enlisted artists around the world to sing her new song “I Dare You” in multiple languages! So many artists like Red Rocks Worship and Rend Collective are having quarantine worship. And Hayley Williams is still releasing music during this time. If you want good live vocals, go to @willyj1234 on Instagram for Parachute singer Will Anderson sing all the albums live! And if you want to cry go listen to “You Will Be Found” by the Evan Hansen cast.
There is so much music coming together at this time. If you want to feel connected to other humans, just hop on a live music show and listen. Listen as your fellow humans try to be hopeful and in community at a time like never before.
Friends, this world can feel dark, but there is so much light coming out of this time. Keep holding on, you’ll make it through!