By: Sandra Burley
March 26, 2021
In the days leading up to the easing of lockdown measures I find myself alternating between excitement and nervousness. I absolutely cannot wait to do so many things, with so many people, but we need to be cautious so we're not swept away. Go slowly out of lockdown to avoid overwhelm. Step forward, then pull back.
It's so tempting to rush to fill your diary with meals out as soon as the pubs open, picnics with friends, beauty appointments, coffees, and all of the other things we're craving back in our lives. I urge you though, go slow. The world has changed in the past year, and most importantly so have you. There are lessons we've all learned in the last 12 months, and racing around trying to erase that would be doing yourself a great disservice. Hopefully we'll never be given this enormous opportunity for self-reflection again on this scale, but let's embrace the fact that we had it. Life slowed down and then ground to a halt, and we were able to take away nearly every single factor besides the actual work we were doing. We reflected on the things that matter to us, and equally as important what doesn't matter. This was the truest reflection of who we are when the world isn't watching us.
Let me give you a few extremely insignificant but quite fun examples. During the entirety of lockdown I painted my toenails but never my nails. Clearly it matters to me that I paint my toenails which no one usually sees, and I only paint my nails for other people to see. Also, I didn't get dressed in real clothes very often, but I did wash my hair every other day. Clearly having clean hair matters to me just for me, but real clothes appear to be a show I put on for other people. On the other end of the serious spectrum it became clear to me that when I fill my days interacting with other people (even by email and text) it drains me of joy if I don't leave enough time for solo thinking and debriefing of the day. The quieter times of lockdown were a real balm to my soul, and continued to remind me to be true to my ambivert nature (a combination of introvert and extrovert).
The lessons from the past year were a gift for the most part, of being able to know our true selves more than ever. From the enormous realizations to the tiny aha moments. Many of us have only experienced this kind of stark self-reflection post 9/11, and here's hoping there aren't many more moments where we encounter such a sad historical moment in time that we are forced to slow down and take a good hard look at our lives. However, as we have all been through this, let's not continue on with our old lives without taking our new lessons with us. Let's not throw this last year away, but use it to build a new world, both in ourselves and outside our selves, where we carefully consider the way we want to live in it.