“The real voyage of discovery consists, not in seeking new landscapes, but in having new eyes.” (Marcel Proust)
I’m not big on making New Year resolutions (What’s she talking about, Leonard? Doesn’t she know it’s nearly April?). But what I do try to do at the beginning of each year is think about who I want to be, what I hope will be different, and what I want my life to look like at the end of the year. Then, I set my monthly, weekly, and daily intentions with that vision in mind.
It’s very organized and kind of nerdy (and maybe a tiny bit OCD). It works for me.
But, here at the end of March, 2020—a month during which the world changed in ways that were unimaginable a short time ago—I find it’s time to rethink my priorities and reset my intentions for the emerging brave new world (which, I hope, will not resemble the one imagined by Aldous Huxley).
I wonder, as we hunker down—giving colossal thanks to those on the front lines who cannot hunker—if it would be healthy and wise to take some time to think about who we will be and what the world may look like once the coronavirus pandemic is behind us.
Experts and inexperts predict that could be anywhere from three months to eighteen (with one particular jackass claiming it will be over by Easter). Think about how much your world has changed in just one month. Now extrapolate that change to three months or—heaven help us—eighteen. I believe it’s safe to say this event will change the world irrevocably. In so many areas of life, we will not return to the way things were before COVID-19. [I highly recommend this article from Politico, “Coronavirus Will Change the World Permanently. Here’s How,” offering predictions from experts on how nearly every aspect of life is likely to be forever altered.]
To effectuate my reset, I’ve been asking myself some questions. You may want to consider these or compose some of your own:
- What do I want to accomplish during this time of mandatory isolation and self-quarantine?
- Who do I want to be when this crisis is over and how will I have upheld my personal values?
- What will be different that’s within my control?
- What will be different that’s outside my control, and how will I adjust or adapt to it?
- How can I prepare for the unknown world awaiting me?
- How can I best serve—now and later?
My answers are personal—as yours will be—but I found that they fell into predictable categories. Without getting too specific:
Physical health: healthy practices, exercise, nutrition, remaining active, adequate sleep, stress management….
Mental health: keeping active mentally, reading—both “comfort” reading and books/materials that stretch me, puzzles and games, calming practices and stress management….
Connection: staying in touch with friends whom I may not see for many months; not driving crazy the one person whom I will see 24/7, and maintaining my cool during our enforced co-seclusion….
Home: get things done that I’ve been meaning to do, garden, declutter, maybe learn to operate the vacuum….
Accomplishments: for me, that means writing—finishing projects that are underway, starting new ones, submitting some, and also playing with new forms and stretching. Also, learning something entirely new.
Activism: there are still plenty of ways to support the election results I desire, and to advocate for equitable treatment, justice, and integrity in our country’s response to this crisis, as well as its ongoing response to other circumstances.
Like the earliest explorers, we are embarking on unknown territory, with incomplete maps and inadequate provisions. All of us are taking this journey. Separate … but together. What may work well for me may not work for you. What works for you may not be my cup of tea. But if we share our discoveries and intentions with one another, we will add to the body of ideas that emerge and we will forge new paths through this wilderness.
I hope you will share your own ahas, resolutions, and comfort strategies—here, or on your own blog, through your social media, and through your example.
As each day brings new challenges, let’s bring the best of who we are to face them. Stay safe, my friends.
“Penetrating so many secrets, we cease to believe in the unknowable. But there it sits nevertheless, calmly licking its chops.” (H.L. Mencken)