What has been your Covid Silverling?
In most places we will be approaching the one year anniversary of this Covid pandemic. The outbreaks happened in other places a month or so prior to it being labeled a pandemic but even that could not prepare us for what to expect and most importantly of how to make sense of it.
I was closely monitoring the situation as I had a psychotherapy conference that I planned to attend mid-March. I was so excited to travel to DC and did not want to have to cancel my trip. At that time I knew that something big was happening but the reality had not set in. A week before the conference I was shopping for things for my trip and I started to notice that I couldn’t find hand sanitizer nor sanitizing wipes. And on March 11, 2020, the WHO characterized the Covid 19 outbreak as a pandemic and that changed our lives forever.
Looking back now, I remember how naïve I was in thinking that the city shutdown would last two weeks and then things could get back to normal. Maybe that was my way of protecting myself from the anxiety and uncertainty that would become our norm. Thinking and wishing for anything less than that would been too overwhelming. So I, like millions of other people did our part, we saw cities of this country and other countries grapple with the loss of lives and the limited resources. All of the plans we had for the immediate future were put on hold. Everyone carried more responsibilities, if it wasn’t from being an essential worker and having to be in the crosshairs of this pandemic, or working and now having to be a teacher for your children, or having to shut down your business, rework your business, and so on.
We have all lived and lost people, things, experiences or our community in this past year. The amazing thing about this is the resiliency and drive that has kept us going.
We don’t talk often enough about something positive or joyful that we’ve also experienced this last year. Most of my conversations are around how hard it’s been, how tired we are of this situation and when will things get back to normal. It may even feel insensitive or like we’re going to jinx ourselves if we mention some joyful moments or experiences. This isn’t to minimize the suffering that we have all experienced this past year. There are over 2.5 million lives lost to Covid and many more families and friends impacted as a result.
However, we are allowed to experience our full range of emotions from grief, sadness, anger to happiness, contentment, and joy. We can get lost in the bad news that’s reported daily or the constant feeling of uncertainty as a result.
Many of my clients have told me how that hard stop that the shutdown forced on us was what they were needing to catch their breath. They had been running on empty for so long, pushing just a little more that it really forced them to stop and question what their priorities are and if that is how they are living.
The pandemic taught me that I have everything that I truly need to be happy within a fingertip. My husband was able to work from home and our routines were no longer necessary. We were able to establish new routines or adjust the old ones that were no longer working for us. I had been working from home for years and now I had an office mate. We were taking walks at lunch, planning our dinners and spending a lot of time together. This was nice and enjoyable on most days. We got to spend even more time with our dog and it made me realize that I wanted to add another dog to the mix. Sometimes we feel guilty about sharing our true experience, the joy and the pain.
I want to challenge you to focus on the joyful or tender moments you’ve experienced during the pandemic. We are complex beings and have more than one emotion or experience at a time. It’s the ability to focus on the joy that allows us to be resilient and move forward through the pain.
What has been your COVID Silver lining?