I have been thinking about what life looks like now versus what it used to look like a year ago. And also thinking about what it might look like a year from now. Things seem to be changing and evolving so fast now. It is hard to keep up sometimes. I am wondering how others are feeling? I am concerned and scared, and overwhelmed at times, as I take in news about COVID19 and killings and protest around the country and the world. I wonder if anyone else is questioning where this world and humanity are headed? I have felt a need to take a “pause” to reflect and sort of recalibrate as we cross the half-way point of 2020.
I remember December 31, 2019, New Years Eve. I went to a New Year’s Eve service at my sis’ church and we spent the evening with my family at home making home made candles and creating candle scents as we rang in the new year! It was a lot of fun! I spent some time on New Year’s Day remembering the year I had in 2019 and what I was grateful for and I remember feeling excited for 2020 and looking forward to what the new year would bring.
Whew Lord! Never would I have guessed that in the first 6 months of 2020, I would see a global pandemic, countries around the world shutting down all activities that require one to leave their home, shelter in place orders issued around the country, civil unrest and protest all over the country and globally, a locust invasion in East Africa and giant hornets arriving in the United States.
Let me just say, this is not even CLOSE to what I had in mind for my 2020.
Over the last 4 months, daily life has changed pretty drastically. I no longer go into the office daily to work. I go approximately 1 time a week for just a few hours and complete the bulk of my work from my "new office", my dining room table. My husband and 2 children are home most of the time now. My outings are extremely limited. I do not worship at my church now. I limit my trips to the store. I do not go to the movie theatre. Traveling for basketball or vacation is not happening. Large family and group gatherings are not happening. I saw the school year end with all students finishing the year doing their school work from home.
I have to say, at times, I am grieving some of the loss of what life used to look like for me. But even more so, I am grieving the loss of so many lives. I am grieving the hardships that millions of people are facing from losing loved ones, losing jobs, losing businesses, and losing a sense of a settled and grounded normalcy. Not too long ago, I read an article in the Washington Post from early May that stated an online therapy company, Talkspace, reported a 65 percent jump in clients since the middle of February and that anxiety and depression are on the rise.
It is all serious stuff, right? All of this can be and IS overwhelming.
BUT, … there is more. Everything that is going on is not all bad. I am finding little “precious gems” among the rubble that has been the 1st half of 2020.
While time is still moving almost at the speed of light, I have found that I can pause and really take life in, as it is happening, more so than before. Time spent with family and friends, is savored and every morsel of it is relished. Time spent with friends and family is also selective and very intentional. That is a gift.
Another unexpected gift that is resonating with me is that I am learning to hold my boundaries around my values. There is one value in particular that is coming in clutch for me right now and it's my value that I have named HOPE. In my value called HOPE is where I have placed ALL THINGS related to fitness, nutrition and well-being. In my value called HOPE, is where I find the guide rails of; Eat clean whole foods, mostly and firstly vegetables; Limit how much I eat out and be selective about when and where I eat out; Pray; Get enough sleep; Commit to a minimum of 3 weight training sessions a week plus 1 “move more activity”; Commit to my personal growth which is the umbrella over everything that relates to my well-being. Now, while these guide rails are in place firmly, it does not mean that I don't stumble every now and then. But the saving grace is that they are there and in place, and I can grab hold of them to help me along the way.
I am focused on working diligently around living under the umbrellas of ALL of my values. There is no confusion when living with the guide rails that having clear values provides. It is a safe place. I can be confident in my values and what they call me to be attentive to, and to act on. I am doing well at taking care of myself and staying connecting with others during this crazy and unsettling time. When I am doing well taking care of myself, I am then able to take clear and intentional action around what ever that next step is. I can take clear and intentional action around how I do life with my values in tact and with COVID19 now in the mix. When I am doing well at honoring my values and taking care of myself, I can then reach out to do my part in the world to help others.
There is a lot going on in this world. Trying to work through processing it is tough and that is okay. We all are going to have to walk through this tough time and process through it the best we can.
As we walk this sometimes scary, sometimes hard, sometimes confusing, and sometimes grief filled leg of this journey, I would offer the idea of establishing clear values for yourself, naming them and defining them and knowing them like the back of your hand. I learned the concept of identifying clear values from a very dear friend not too long ago, and I am so very grateful to be anchored to the foundation of my values because when things get muddy, and unclear and scary, I can at least do these things to recalibrate and take care of myself, and there is precious comfort in that.