It’s important to me to use this time meaningfully to do things I can’t normally do. I was working from home during the first month of the shutdown. My job kept me very busy, and it didn’t feel like I was benefitting from having more time at home. Then I was laid off – left to manage my goals without restraint.
Am I managing to achieve my goals while having total freedom? What am I doing or not doing?
1. Walking (Almost Every Day)
I’m proud to say, since the shutdown began, I made it a point to take this time to makes sure my dog gets to walk regularly. We go out most evenings generally from 20-45 minutes, sometimes even more.
It’s been almost two months. We visit different streets and in explore nearby neighborhoods – more than when I used to walk him sporadically. It’s interesting to see the various types of houses, landscaping, and even the personalities of the people we encounter. There is house with a horse and buggy carriage in the front yard and another with a sign for a college graduate on the lawn.
Something not so good also happened. My dog got bitten in the face by another dog. The angry dog ran out of his open gate and attacked my dog, but this did not deter my dog’s excitement for the daily walks, and I grew in resilience nursing his wound. Fortunately, everything has been good since then.
Before the shutdown, I had a steady routine of going to the gym 4-5 times a week, usually in the mornings before work. When I was working from home it took effort to do this before my workday started, but I was still exercising even if it was less consistent.
Now, I struggle to get a routine going again. However, since I walk regularly, I feel justified in being gentle with myself and giving myself a break on this one.
3. Not Watching the News Too Much
I watch or read small spurts of the news. But experts don’t know a lot about the virus yet. There’s no point in talking about it too much in and getting anxious.
It is important to be informed about what is going on in society. People are accomplishing great things standing up for rights they feel are endangered, but we all perform different roles. Important acts can be big like opening your business so your employees can earn money, and they can be little like asking if your neighbor needs items from the grocery.
I lost my job a few weeks ago. Wanting to DO something still, I decided to open a resume writing business. This was a reasonable idea because I have helped friends and colleagues write or update their resume over the years. Since I knew so many people who would be looking for jobs, this was the optimal time to go for it. Except for one little detail, I wasn’t very excited about this idea.
The resume idea quickly fizzled out, at least for now. Since my goal is to use this time to accomplish things that are meaningful to me, I decided to return to a novel I started writing three years ago. So here I am, starting the second draft. (And this blog post is my sneaky attempt at procrastinating today.)
5. Zoom Calls and Video Chats
I am someone who HATED video chats with passion. But exposure to a stimulus is the best way to either get over strong feelings or build a habit. I had to participate in conference calls for work. I didn’t use video; however, it was the first step in getting me accustomed to conversing on the computer.
Then my friends started having weekly Zoom Cocktail Hours. I begrudgingly agreed to participate, but after each one ended, I found I enjoyed myself. Plus, it was interesting to see each friend in their own environment.
Next, my family had an unprecedented call for my niece’s birthday last week. We gathered from different states and countries to wish her a happy birthday. It was special since all of the generations came together, which was something that happened a lot when I was growing up, but the next two generations after me did not get to experience. The culmination was yesterday, on my birthday, I happily participated in many video chats and calls with friends and family.
6. Not Thinking About What I Want to do Next (Yet).
Like many people who found themselves jobless recently, I will have to start applying for jobs soon. That also involves figuring out what I want to do next. Do I want to go back to the same type of work I did recently?
I liked most things about it, but I would like to have at least some work that I accomplish rather than only writing about what other people do. That’s probably also why I have always been reluctant to dive into writing resumes.
In the past, when I stepped off the carousel to figure out what I want to do with myself, everyone kept going. Now, most of the world is at a pause. And things are going to be different for those returning to their jobs for the foreseeable future. This is a good time to reflect and reevaluate what’s next.
I believe the world is collectively experiencing this for a reason, and we will come out of it when it’s time.
Life is all about adapting our actions and striving to be better, whether it involves a national or international crisis, or facing our daily struggles. We need to try to act as safe as possible with the information we have, but in some ways there’s not much else we can do but ride it out and have faith that things will work out.
So this is what I’m doing now. I’m trying to enjoy each day.