Once I read a John F. Kennedy quote about crisis that stuck with me. He said: “The Chinese use two brush strokes to write the word 'crisis.' One brush stroke stands for danger; the other for opportunity. In a crisis, be aware of the danger - but recognize the opportunity.”
I guess right now this really resonates with us. We are all in full crisis mode, and the little things we took for granted merely weeks ago, are now in a gold pot over the rainbow. Before this crisis, I was focused on my own belly button and my mid-life crisis. Today, honestly, I will give anything to just have it back – and throw Corona Crisis away, for humanity’s sake. But this into itself is such an important and urgent lesson that it would be stupid to dismiss it: we should stop, look around, and be grateful. We should never take things for granted. Our little daily challenges are not to generate stress, but awareness. We need to reconnect, pause, be present in the moment. Mother Nature needs a break, otherwise she will throw us some pretty heavy lessons. After all there is no planet B.
So back to my ordinary crisis, pre-COVID-19. Let’s put things in perspective. I am 45 (only for three more weeks…) Yes, with luck this is the middle of my journey in this present incarnation. I had been occupied asking myself about me, me, me: “how can I be a good, present mother; have a career; make enough money to support the three of us and still find time for myself? And, maybe, time for romance?” Those are legit questions, don’t get me wrong. They just sound kind of irrelevant in the current situation, but my guts say they are not. To the contrary, we are all being given a chance to pause and re-think them. Let me explain why. Because we need to change our perception of things. Learn how to feel differently about them, even if things don’t change (and they have already).
So, here are some of my pre-pandemic complains (actually written last January as a roll of complains to myself), updated with post-pandemic thoughts and solutions.
Pre-Pandemic Complain: Over the years, I have learned how to prioritize, to delegate, to manage my schedule – sometimes all the at the same time. This skill brought me both relief and anxiety. I hate multitasking and maximizing hours, I can never feel joy when I go there.
Post-Pandemic Fix: Scratch multitasking and maximizing. I have learned how to single-task. Which is really the only possibility, if you think about it. When multi-tasking, we necessarily lose time when switching attention and we can only really focus on one thing. So why burn all this time doing something so fool?
Pre-Pandemic Complain: I try hard to work out every day, it is my “me” time. I do Pilates and hit the gym for cardio, meditation, stretches and sometimes a dance class. I also try to have 20-40 minutes in the morning and before I go to sleep to meditate, alone, in bed. I can’t prioritize it, but I try hard.
Post-Pandemic Fix: This is already partially solved. Since quarantine, first thing I do every morning is exercise. I stretch, meditate, do crunches and some other strength exercises in my bedroom, before even taking my coffee. It’s been helping me build a routine, a healthier one. I know we all have more time now, but I will make a point to keep this one. It makes my day much more productive, stress-free and my body is keeping up!
Pre-Pandemic Complain: I am self-employed, have a consultancy company in the entertainment business. And I have my creative side (writer, screenwriter, now blogger). Mornings are consumed by filling empty pages, writing books or scripts; editing, having ideas. I need silence so that’s the thing I do when I am home alone, the girls are at school. I call it creative time. On afternoons, I spend a big chunk of my time interacting with clients and my team. It is my managing time. Because I have this two-shift work period (the third one being a mother and housekeeper), I feel easily bored with my work tasks.
Post-Pandemic Fix: With so much time for myself, I have put organization time aside, and what a difference! We need to count organization time aside as work time, and not on Sunday nights when we dread the end of our free time! I have created a schedule in which I rotate chores and days. Now my Creative time is scheduled around different days, and I never do the same thing two days in a row (unless I am really feeling it!). Rotation gives me time to refresh my look on ongoing projects and bring a richer input. The same with my managing time.
Pre-Pandemic Complain: I have to clean the house, do laundry, and cook every day. I love cooking, but it eats up a lot of my time! But the thing I can’t stand is running errands, specially grocery shopping. I am SO tired of grocery shopping! Sometimes I have to go three times a week, and I feel like I spend more time at the groceries than at the gym!
Post-Pandemic Fix: OMG this is bananas! I really just need to go to the groceries once a week! It is called smart-shopping, and thanks to the quarantine I have learned it! I am so excited to learn that I can downsize this ordeal to four times a month! And also buy what is available, instead of getting fixated on a product that I can’t find and will take me to three additional stores.
Pre-Pandemic Complain: On weekends, when I have it in me, I may see a friend for brunch. If the week was very busy, I just run errands for the house and get organized for the week. So, I end up reading a lot and watching a TV series (if I am in the mood for it). I also hit the gym (so I can have my whole pint of Ben & Jerry’s Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough).
Post-Pandemic Fix: The moment the quarantine is up, I think we will all run outside and hug each other (ok, that’s my romantic self-dreaming). Anyway, there will not be “if I have it in me to socialize”, I will probably read less books and see more people. I will also make a point to run errands during the week (only once!), and not making Ben & Jerry’s more important than my dear friends.
Pre-Pandemic Complain: I am extremely slow on the dating game. I don’t feel motivated to go out and meet new people. Been there, done that. I also don’t feel like I should pursue any online dating, but rather be open to what the Universe may present. But I do feel lonely and a bit sad, since I recently broke up a five-year relationship. I fear that if I let time slide, I will just remain single, because this is not a priority.
Post-Pandemic Fix: I will definitely be more open to meeting new and interesting people. This will be a part of my reconnection plan. But, at this point, I am extremely happy to not be locked down with my ex (lol). So here my fix is the opposite. Unless it is the right person, I am cool just being single and enjoying my singlehood. Not afraid of being single anymore!
Pre-Pandemic Complain: I am trying to prepare for the empty nest syndrome. I mean, already desperately missing my 18-year-old who stays over her dorm at college. And holding on to my youngest with long, locked arms, for one more year.
Post-Pandemic Fix: I am having so much time with both of my daughters! So grateful for this, and so reassured that when the time comes, I will be cool with it. Also, whenever I need them, I know they will be around. Over the years, we have become a unit, not a bird
and a nest. We flock together.
This post ended up being a bit different, but I really want to exercise the current moment to rethink many of my old complains. How about you? Do you have post-pandemic fixes for your pre-pandemic complains? Let’s all look at the silver lining and learn with this? Stay safe, y’all.