What good can possibly come from quarantine? Before you stone me for being insensitive to the seriousness of the Covid-19 virus or the hardships that many are suffering due to this virus and the quarantine, please hear my heart on this. I am sorry for all of the people who are and have suffered as a result of this virus, due to sickness, loss of life, lose of family members and friends, lose of livelihood, depression and even suicide. These have been the horrible results of this virus and the quarantine instituted in an effort to control the spread of this virus. I am also not here to debate whether the quarantine is warranted as this stage based upon the statistics or if your particular state should be opened or continue under a “stay in place” order. There are many more knowledgeable than myself who can’t agree on this topic but I would like to help you to stretch your view of what is currently taking place during this “forced downtime” which most of us are experiencing.
Whether you are able to work from home or are temporarily unemployed, I would like to propose that this time can be a reset for you and encourage you to stop wishing to return to “normal”. First, let’s look at what we had begun to believe and accept as “normal”. Most of us were overstressed, not getting proper exercise nor nutrition, spending too much time sitting in traffic, overworked, not spending enough time with our families, not giving enough time to our friendships, etc. I could go on but I think that some of you are beginning to acknowledge this and are somewhat enjoying the return to a simpler life. I would like to encourage you to look deeper than that to the place of questioning just how you can benefit from this time as you look at your future and your new normal.
I would encourage you to look at this time as a reset button, like the reset button on your modem or other device. This button allows you to clear the clutter and often to return to factory settings. I previously co-owned a telephone company and often we would encourage our customers to turn off or unplug their telephone systems in order to reset the device. We would laugh at how often this “troubleshooting” would eliminate the customer’s problem. What if, we are being set up to push the reset button upon our lives? What if, during this downtime, we begin to examine our lives for what we need to let go of and what we want to pursue?
For those who read my blog, you have often read of my encouragement to examine your life. “An unexamined life is not worth living.” is one of my favorite quotes. I personally have spent a lot of time examining my life and have encouraged others to do the same but this is even more than that. I have spoken with my clients about how they are doing during the quarantine and most of them are working from home, some are alone due to being single, many working at home with theirs spouses and some with children as well, some not living in the same state as their families, unable to do many of the things which they enjoy such as attend church, go out for dinner, movies, sporting events, concerts, bars, bible study, shopping or whatever. I have begun to see a pattern in the responses which I am getting. Initially, there was a lot of shock and even some grief over the loss of the things which they had previously enjoyed but as the weeks have gone on I am seeing some positive feedback as to what they are gaining through this experience and I am beginning to see positives in my own life as well.
Many are noticing that they enjoy spending more time with their husbands and children, many are enjoying their homes more and are doing projects around their homes and in their yards or outdoor areas. Many are cleaning out their closets and homes to remove things that they really no longer want or need. Many are exercising more as they take numerous walks or working out during the day and are making more of an effort to get outside on the weekends. Many are looking at their time working from home and deciding that they really love working at home and are looking at how they might continue doing that. Many are realizing some of the things from their “previous life” that they want to let go of and many are realizing that there are some things that their “previous life” did not contain which they would now like to include in their “new life”.
Maybe you are saying, “Good for them but I just want things to go back to what they were.” Well, are you sure? Maybe this is a great time to assess your life and decide if it is everything that you want it to be or if there are some areas which you would like to tweak before or once things “return to normal”. Have you gotten complacent and just continued on with the same old things out of habit and because change is difficult. Maybe your life could be more, maybe you could do more of what you love and less of what goes against who you really are or what you want to be. Maybe there is something that you have always wanted to do or some business which you always wanted to start. Maybe you have always wanted to go back to school. Maybe there is a hobby or skill which you have always wanted to take up or get back to, that you may have not explored in years.
Maybe you just want your life to remain at a slower pace where you can truly enjoy life and “stop to smell the roses”. I did that the other day in the middle of the day on a walk around my neighborhood and had to laugh. I must admit that this time is stretching me because I like to work and I also like to get out to hike or kayak whenever and wherever I want. This is definitely the time of year that I like to go to the beach and hang out with friends at various places or take trips but this is forcing me to look deeper. I would like to encourage you to look deeper as well. Join me and many others by using this time as a reset button for your life. You will thank me if you do and you may regret it if you miss this opportunity.