Older,Caucasian,Senior,Woman,Grandmother,With,Face,Mask,During,Quarantine

Older caucasian senior woman grandmother with face mask during quarantine of epidemic COVID - 19 arranges flowers in her garden

The ancient Celts say that on March 1st, the “seed turns in the earth.” Sometimes it doesn’t feel like it – windy, howling, rainy (icky), but something is happening “under the surface.” Isn’t that a fitting image for how we have been living?

We’ve had the opportunity to have learned many things, aged many years, and traveled many theoretical miles this past year. Whatever the outcome, we are not the same as we were in March 2020.

As if we needed a reminder that life was unpredictable and very, very short, we’ve had to clarify what is of greatest value versus what is shiny and seductive. We’ve had to discern what we want from what we need. We have had to shift priorities. It hasn’t come easily or without sacrifice and hasn’t happened without discomfort…as weeding or pruning always is. We’re making conscious decisions about what serves us, where our energies need to go, what stays and what goes, and what feeds us and what drains us.

We often don’t have the luxury to surround ourselves with what’s easy, pleasant, or comfortable. Our lives are complicated and full of commitments and responsibilities that may be challenging, painful, and require extreme resilience and effort. Are some of these things optional? Are we so used to struggling and feeling “stretched” that we jam-pack our schedules so that we feel “normal?”

We’ve had quiet time.We have craved it, got it, and then wanted to get rid of it. It’s been hard to manage the leisure or lack of schedule. For some of us it’s been busier and more stressful. For others it’s been loose, boring, and unnerving. For all of us, it’s been different. It’s been a fearful and unpredictable time. We have had to re-configure our way of life.

Inside of the biggest challenges of life, there can be opportunities. We can take inventory.

  • How are we using our resources?
  • Where does our energy go, our time, our focus, our money, our efforts?
  • What needs to stay the same, and what could change?
  • Are there adaptations we can make?
  • Are there “conservation measures” we can put in place to avoid exhaustion and overextension?
  • Are there relationships that need more work and time / or less…
  • Are we more acquainted with our health and vulnerabilities?
  • Do we find ourselves craving a lifestyle that has more peace and deep joy?
  • Do we want less of the Golden Calf? Do we want more karma?
  • Have we thought about the quality of our lives and what that means to us?

The simple pleasures of the early spring sun on our faces, the sound and smell of the ocean, the privacy of the off-season beach time, the perfect taste of that morning coffee, and the delight of the cool pillow case at night. Were we reintroduced to these simple yet profound pleasures during COVID? Did we relish the ZOOMs with friends, long for the sound of their voices, and remember the value of “face to face?” Did we consider who we have deeply missed or who we haven’t? Have we felt the relief of not having to contend with those who are difficult for us?

Have we made any COVID-resolutions?

I’m not going to color my hair anymore; you are growing a beard. I’m not going to home school anymore, or I am going to moving forward. Was my office an uncomfortable place to be? Do I want to work a hybrid model? Can I step away from this board after 10 years of service? Can I retire early? Do I want a new job?

Inside of extreme difficulty, there are opportunities. It’s natural to take a hard look at what was. We do it, especially after death. We are different then. Something has happened that shook us, took something away from us, and changed us. It evokes a response or an evaluation.

As the restrictions lift, and life returns to “normal” during this time of vaccination, and schools and Main Street opening back up, we could be tempted to rush back in. Take a few minutes (or hours) to consider where we’ve been this past year. Consider what we’ve learned. Consider weeding or pruning. Consider your precious personal resources and where you want to use them.

Your time, your energy, your focus… yourself.

Take inventory of self and of what you find. What stays, what goes, and what changes?How will you share your gifts? How will you share you? You are the gift. I am the gift. Where will we be given?

Joanne MacInnis, RN, is the founder and president of Aberdeen Home Care, Inc., of Danvers, a concierge private duty home care agency in business since 2001. With 35 years of nursing practice, management and administration experience focused on home care and hospice, Joanne and her team specialize in advising and supporting families addressing the elders in their lives retain dignity and quality of life.

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