When will we get back to normal? When will restaurants and libraries and schools open up again? Will events scheduled for the fall happen? How long will we wear masks? When will we be able to count on finding TP in the stores?
We’re all asking questions like these. The truth is, we don’t know when things will go back to normal—or even what the “new normal” may look like. We don’t know what societal changes we’ll see stick. There are a lot of things that are out of our control.
What we can control is what we want our own life to look like when we go back to work and school and leave our houses again. I talked about this some last week (Who Will You Be When This Is All Over?) and I wanted to share some journaling prompts this week to continue to explore this theme, because I think it’s important. We all have a chance to be very deliberate in choosing what we want in our lives.
- Make a list of things that were cancelled or put on hold because of the pandemic. Include one-time major events like graduations or weddings, regular meetings or appointments, hobbies, vacations, dinners or other meet ups with friends … anything that didn’t happen as you planned.
- Make a list of things that happened differently because of the pandemic. Did your book group meet on Zoom? Did you social distance hike with a neighbor? Have a FaceTime cocktail hour with a friend? Start calling your kids more regularly? Write letters?
- Notice how you feel about these changes. Go through your lists and notice how you feel about each thing. Were you relieved that a luncheon was cancelled? Were you devastated you couldn’t go to your reunion? Did you like being in your PJs for book group but missed actually being together? Are you wondering why you can FaceTime your friend pretty easily but finding time to be face to face was so hard?
- Highlight any of the items you feel particularly strongly about. What can you learn from these things about what’s really important to you? What can you learn about what drains you or doesn’t engage you? What do you want more of in your life? Less?
It can feel daunting to have a lot of major changes to make. The good news is that small changes done consistently can have a big impact. What small changes can you add (maybe not now, but as we get back to “normal”)?
For example, maybe your twice a week spin class was cancelled, but you started walking in the morning and love how that starts your day. Maybe you don’t go back to the class or do it once a week, or try an evening class. Or if you found a lot of things that got cancelled that filled you with relief or that you didn’t really mind missing, start taking a pause before you say yes to things. Ask, “Do I really want to do this? Will it light me up?” if not, say no. Even if we aren’t at the point of making these changes, getting curious and having ideas about how you want to proceed will help you choose what will be in your life when the time comes.