How COVID-19 Lockdown Changes Perspective and Why That is Good For Us

Post by Sharon

I've worked from home almost my entire career life. I've only worked "out in the world" 5 years, but have worked from home for 25!  

The first weeks I worked from home, I assumed it'd be cool. I could wear my jammies and eat what I want without interruptions from chatty workmates, noise and chaos. No stressing over morning hair and makeup.

And, I ended up having anxiety attacks.

I didn't have a way to ground myself to work. I was distracted by the dishes in the sink, what's in the fridge, the workout I should probably get in.... I had to learn a slew of new foreign doctors (I typed medical reports). I didn't know the work program yet on the computer so I was putting out very few lines trying to make the keystrokes second nature. 

And then came the friends who thought I could talk any time because I was at home, even though it was work time. One even called me on her cell as she went out to lunch so she would have a virtual lunch person to talk to at the table. The minute her meal was over, I was dismissed.

It took me months until I had the discipline to designate a space and time to work. Then, I produced like never before

But, over time the friends who were co-workers moved on. I didn't really meet new people between working and keeping up the home, mother responsibilities and more. 

I began to let my hair be in a ponytail all day. I wore the same thing a few days in a row. I forgot to shower sometimes....

The more time that went on, however, I had this odd sensation of being slightly off from earth's timeline. It was like I could sit back and watch life and realize how hectic it is out there. I wanted to go out to crowded places less and and less. The urgency to "do something" or "buy something" had abated and I found myself appreciating simple things like tea on the patio, the sound of springtime birds, and the breeze from an open window.

I wasn't rushing out to do things all the time, so I took that spare time to paint, read, learn new subjects, try my hand at learning a language, perfecting my cooking skills, performing meditation every day, and working out.

One day, I ran 5 miles in 32 minutes. It dawned on me that had I been out distracting myself in shops or sitting at bars with a beer, I wouldn't have been committed to my running. I would be lamenting that I spent money and ate calories and am further from my goal of fitness.

The relationships I did have, I valued much more deeply. Instead of the knee jerk reaction to "rush and do something with someone" that once kept me feeling momentarily elated, I had time to listen to friends and family and offer wisdom, comfort, and true deep connections. 

Discussions weren't on the clock with little soundbites of bellyaching between commitments. Instead, the subjects were about passions, dreams, philosophy.... I didn't feel the need to dismiss people, avoid people, or get steamed up about some made-up drama among co-workers. I could step aside and let someone cut in line, open a door for a harried mother, and offer a smile and a witty joke while waiting at the DMV. 

Sometimes, the work-a-day world can make you tough and irritable - angry at traffic, at your hair not curling right, at your boss's snotty attitude, at the co-worker who gets away with playing video games all day, and a thousand other things that make you go home after a rollercoaster of hormones rushing through your system. 

For me, things that used to seem important had slipped away. I realized that it was all a distraction to keep me from an inner journey to find my bliss, to set my own priorities, to quit looking at others to tell me how I should look, act, what I should value....

When I worked - I worked.
When I rested - I rested.
When I played - I played.

I was present in that moment, utterly focused. 

My wardrobe became workout clothes and shorts, sneakers and exercise bras. Basically, I dressed for casual-no-one-is-gonna-see-me but also kept the workout stuff on in case I jumped on the elliptical. 

The rest of the world was in a marathon and my life had slowed down. This is sort of what a retired person goes through in that they get off the escalator and adapt to ground legs again. 

Ultimately, this process helped me to take myself out of the playing field of competition with others, using others as reference, valuing things I don't really care about. 

The birth of a true adult individual happens in times when you quit deciding your priorities based on what you think you SHOULD be, do, or value.

Some things COVID-19 has taught the busy workers is home and family are sanctuary, one should always be well stocked just in case, and money in the bank is a necessity.

A lot of us are stressing about their bank accounts shrinking, job stability, the future of the economy, what to do if we get sick with the virus, and missing family and friends.

In all of this, we learn that to slow down each day and reset ourselves at home with family, to be sure everyone knows how you feel about them, to slow down and smile at someone with frown lines, and find inspiration in the simple things  - 

The transition from dreams to reality
The sound of springtime birds outside
The laughter of a child
The smell of coffee
The quiet moments on the patio
The smell of hot laundry sheets
The taste of sweet baked beans
The sprouting seeds in the garden
The mastery of grilling
Tje art of sending cards in the mail

Really focus on the positive possibilities ahead as we re-plot what's important for America and for our families and our selves. 

New focus means new innovations, new priorities, new opportunities. Whatever the times show us, we gear to meet the needs.

This is why we use the Phoenix for our symbol of rebirth - 

There was no greater time of uncertainty than those first shiploads to America to an unknown place with no rules or limits, no family or income. And yet, they stepped on the boat and they sailed into uncertainty. What greeted them was resources, needs, opportunities, and unlimited growth. 

And so it has been for hundreds of years.

And will continue to be.

BTW, Thank you, Grandpa Øivind Thorvaldsen for coming to America in the 1920s from Norway, following WWI wiping your family business and the Spanish flu killing loved ones. The New World must have seemed very vague and uncertain. But all that is truly worth it involves risk and growth. 

Change by its very meaning begets opportunities and adaptation skills.

Blessings to all who have had challenges during this time, anxiety, loneliness, and even grief.  I am reminded how when you lose someone you love, you feel removed from the world and alone in your sadness. 

Having gone through this test together, we are all sharing in it. 

And there is a part for each of us in the recovery.