It seems that life is slowly beginning to return to something resembling the before-times. Vaccines are making a difference. Boomers and seniors are slowly venturing out to eat, a little shopping… little by little there is a loosening of the restrictions of the past year.
It’s been a long and challenging 12 months and I find myself reflecting over how this experience has affected me. I’ve learned a lot about myself. I learned I don’t mind being home. In fact, I enjoy my quiet time and I thoroughly enjoyed the slower pace of life. The overriding change for me was less pressure, less stress and I loved that!
I also have come to understand that, while I enjoy the occasional dinner out, what really sparks joy for me is being with the people I love, whether or not food is involved. I’ve learned that Netflix has great content and that it’s okay to sit, relax and get absorbed in really good TV story-telling. Before the pandemic, I felt guilty committing to a multi-season series, thinking there was always something more important I should be doing. Now I know that down-time is essential and it’s a gift I give myself.
I learned that gratitude is the foundation of my emotional health and well-being. Even while in lockdown, being grateful for the little things in life is what made it bearable. I am grateful to live in Florida where the warm weather invites me outside. I am grateful for my loved ones, even though we mostly saw each other through the glass of the sliding doors, the lens of zoom or video chatting. I am grateful for my health. I am grateful for the doctors who helped me when I went through some health challenges in the past few months.
I learned that I am resilient and that I am able to adjust myself to the reality of a global pandemic that changed, well, everything! I learned that I have patience I never knew about, and a more accepting attitude of what life was bringing forth. I learned that whenever I found myself feeling badly about any situation, a brisk walk or bike ride helped immensely… a nod to the many benefits of moving the body.
I learned I can get almost anything I could possibly need delivered to my front door, and I must say, I truly enjoy that convenience. While it won’t take away the pleasure I get from wandering my favorite stores and picking up treasures along the way, it certainly taught me that I don’t have to be deprived just because I am homebound.
Sheltering-in-place, wearing masks and social distancing have not significantly changed me, but they have opened my eyes to, and put a spotlight on, the things that truly make me the happiest.
How about you? Has this past year changed your relationship with yourself? Have you found special coping skills you never knew you had? Do you better understand your priorities and what makes you happiest? Because if you can come out of this experience a bit wiser, albeit a bit wearier, then you have achieved something special.
Be a Savvy Senior! Consider that this year of being home has illuminated things about yourself and that you had the resilience to make it through this and any challenges you might face.