Ah, quarantine. That funny-sounding word. One of those words that I had never used before in my entire life, but have said several times every day now for the last almost three months. Three months? Has it really been that long?
If our governor had told us then that we would still be under Quarantine/Lockdown/Shelter-In-Place/Stay At Home Orders through May, there is no way I would have believed it. Even more, I would have wondered how I would possibly ever get through just staying at home pretty much 24/7 for weeks and weeks.
But, I have found that as I have been forced to stay home due to COVID-19, along with millions of others here and around the world, being home–being still–has taught me some very important lessons. Here are 7 of them:
SPEND QUALITY TIME WITH THE KIDS
Reality: Now that schools are closed indefinitely, my kids are home all the time. It’s a new normal for all of us. Before, the weekdays would go so fast that before I knew it, it was already time to get up the next morning and start a new day.
Takeaway: I have spent more quality time with my kids in these past three months than probably the previous months of the school year combined. We play outside, or sometimes we just hang out and talk to each other. Somehow, we never had time for that before. It’s really nice to know what they’re thinking about and just to giggle with them.
Reality: If I wish to catch up with a friend nowadays, we can talk via FaceTime, WhatsApp, or Zoom, among others. The old standbys, talking on the phone and texting are always available too. But if I want to see other human beings other than my own family, video chats are the only option right now.
Takeaway: Just having a video call means so much now that we have to socially distance, even though it will never replace sitting across from someone. Having in-person conversations was something I took for granted—whether it was talking to other parents at school or meeting friends for dinner. I now appreciate the importance of spending time with others.
GIVE A SHOUT-OUT TO TEACHERS
Reality: Homeschooling can be challenging, especially when it comes to keeping the kids as motivated as they were in school. Plus, with the kids in school for several hours each day, it was easier for me to get things done before it was time to pick them up.
Takeaway: If I’ve said it once, I’ve said it a thousand times: Teachers don’t get paid enough for what they do.
GET BACK TO NATURE
Reality: I have more reasons to get outside in nature. I have always loved my time outdoors, but now that is the only option if I want to spend time outside the house. There is nowhere else to go, and no one else I can meet. I don’t drive anymore, except to take the car out for very occasional drives close by.
Takeaway: After walking daily on outdoor trails, I joined a gym last year, and other than spending time in the backyard, I never really seemed to have the time to spend outside. Quarantine has forced me to walk outside, and I have really learned to appreciate the sweeping landscape, the merry chirping of birds in the morning, and the quiet stillness of being alone.
PUSH TO BE MORE PRODUCTIVE
Reality: I don’t know about you, but somedays, it can be really hard to motivate myself to stay on top of my to-do list. Seeing the same four walls day in and day out, and having nowhere to be can really test my sense of discipline. Before, it didn’t seem to matter as much, since the days always felt busier. But now, staying home all day, I don’t want to look back on the day and feel like I didn’t cross off at least one thing from my list.
Takeaway: I’ve been pushing myself to be productive each day. If I don’t accomplish at least one goal I set for myself for the day, the day itself feels like a waste. And guess what? There are things that had been sitting on my list for several months, that I only accomplished now because I’ve been home all day…and lots more items yet to cross off!
PUSH TO LEARN NEW SKILLS
Reality: We’ve all been there: we get excited about that project we want to finish, or that new skill we want to learn. But then we procrastinate like it’s going out of style. Someday, we tell ourselves, When I Have More Time. If you don’t have time now, (unless you’re an essential worker–thank you!!), you aren’t gonna get more time than this.
Takeaway: I am pushing myself to be more creative lately. Since I now have some free time at home, one way to spend it is to invest in creative pursuits. Sewing, writing, baking, and learning a new language are all things I put off doing or improving upon while I still had the freedom to go out. Now, I am more focused on honing these skills. We all have that Something that is waiting to be explored now.
BE GRATEFUL FOR SILENCE
Reality: Speaking of walks earlier, now there are significantly less cars on the roads these days. I never realized how much noise pollution there was during the day, until there was none.
Takeaway: Being still. Being present. Being here. Being grateful. Being healthy. Feeling more united with the rest of humanity than ever before. Appreciating the small moments of peace and calm.
Wishing you health, safety, and happiness, friends!
Which life lessons have you learned while in quarantine?