As hope begins to flicker in with vaccinations and re-openings I feel the great temptation to forget all that we’ve been through this last year and move into the excitement of our “old” life.
But – we’ve all been changed dramatically by the pandemic. I know that there are parts of the depression, confusion, isolation and anger I experienced that taught me things.
I think the most stand-out experience of COVID has been the strange, shared depression. Never before have I experienced darkness where there was no one to lift it. It’s not that I didn’t have support, it’s that there was no one not going through what I was going through. The balance of suffering and joy was non-existent.
As we re-enter the bright territory of hope, here’s what I want to hold on to from the dark:
- Doing things differently – I don’t think any of us enjoyed the changes we’ve experienced. I HATE not seeing people’s faces – I just miss seeing smiles and understanding people when they speak to me (right!?). But experiencing changes and adapting to a new way of living is a powerful process. This has ended up in my trying many new things and making a regular pattern in my life to bring more “new” into my life.
- Being present – I had to slow down, get creative, and I found that I had time to really be with the people I live with. I am deeply grateful for this and never want to lose this gift.
- Noticing myself – I learned quickly that I had good and bad COVID days. There was a lot of time for reflection and noticing. Realizing what I struggled with, what helped, and how I chose to cope was enlightening.
- More global thinking – Watching the world go through this brought a type of connection that I only ever feel during the Olympics. But this has been different. Being together in tragedy has broadened my empathy and grown my consideration for my fellow-people.
There’s more, I’m sure – but I am very ready to focus on looking forward. But it’s important to make something meaningful out of all of this pain.
What this whole post actually is, is my attempt to “make meaning” out of this disaster of a year. We all need to do this as we grieve – it is natural and helpful.
So – how have you made meaning out of 2020 and COVID? What lessons will you keep with you – how did last year change you for the better?