When COVID hit, the reality of a "pandemic" was not on my radar. Having no gauge or idea of the ramifications of something like a world-wide killing disease in my remembrance, I wrongly believed COVID would mirror the Swine Flu or something that didn't touch the U.S. with a vengeance. So, it was nothing I needed to be concerned about.
Time went by; COVID case numbers crept up, and so did my angst about the impending uncharted journey ahead. Once spring break ended, my family's time to regroup and enjoy one another became a quarantine—the schools did not take the boys back. I knew things were dyer.
By some miracle though, we managed with game and movie times along with exciting conversations that brought us closer together after years of seeing each other in passing while doing our extracurriculars. A pleasant month or so passed, and it was over.
UberEATS visited our home at least three times a day, not counting the late-night desserts we would crave. Ultimately, I climbed from a meager 135 pounds to roughly, and I mean a rough 170 pounds. The games were over, and Netflix was our center of gravity; it kept us going. Before the lockdown, I counted my calories and participated in regular exercise. Watching television was for the feeble-minded. However, I had joined the club.
Luckily, and not so, we were called back to work. I gladly returned, but I wasn't myself. My clothes barely fit, and I was someone else. My mobility declined, and I felt like a blob sliding from place to place. Trying to relive my old routine, I went on a hike with my hiking group and saw that I was a fat person. I was huffing and puffing, even sweating when we had only just begun.
The positive mindset wasn't working; I wasn't working. I realized, pushing through the day to day activities as if thousands of people weren't dying and functioning like things were normal in the midst of the abnormal was not a good strategy. Guess what? I had been doing that pre-COVID too.
For a substantial amount of time, I had gone to work, pursued my second masters, and slung my boys from activity to activity with a planning strategy like that of Cal Newport on steroids. I hadn't reevaluated my life path nor reestablished my value and belief system in years. I was doing well, but not well.
Quite frankly, it seems like our world had been experiencing the same scenario. Since COVID began, businesses could not sustain themselves, divorces became rampant, people wanted to kill their children; some did. We couldn't spend time with ourselves. However, we wish to attribute much of our plight to the pandemic, but I believe it exacerbated problems we chose to ignore through our "busy sickness."
Disasters reveal problems in disguise. For example, I wasn't truly into my health pre-COVID. I was into fads and concerned about weight, not health. I had a schedule, but it was full of things I thought I should be doing, not of things my internal voice directed me to do. I was being influenced from the outside in and not from the inside out.
With this in mind, COVID has taught me three key things:
When the inner voice speaks, listen. There was something I always wanted to do—upwards fifteen years ago. I finally got up enough courage to do it during the pandemic. Even though I have not accomplished it, I'm on track, and in due time, I'm putting in the work. If there is something you want to do, get to it. Don't let a disaster have to be the smoke signal for your success.
Review the daily map in conjunction with the life map. It's easy to chart out a vision board and aimlessly hit goals, appearing to follow the path, but you're not. If you throw a basketball enough times at a goal, you'll make it. Hitting targets isn't evidence of being on the correct path; it just shows you are in the vicinity. Now, every decision I make, action I take has to align with my personal goals. This takes focus because an unexpected sharp turn happens quickly. My calendar has other obligations, but I put in at least five hours a day on me.
Enjoy the ride. In the film, Are We There Yet, the name is the famous line repeated along the journey. Even though the map is the guide, you don't stare at it during the ride. You take note and follow instructions but to monitor the timing it takes to arrive at the destination is draining and quite irritating. While on my path, I'm committed to looking at the scenery along the way. That is the excitement of a road trip. You see things that we usually miss. I want to be able to understand how I got there. No rush!
Of course, there are many facets of life to realize going forward, especially under the circumstance. However, my golden nuggets have reignited my passion for self and realigned my compass again. I revamped my personal purpose through my new tips and have lost over twenty pounds. How has your perspective changed during COVID? Leave comments below.