I think it is safe to say, that if we all had our choice, we would prefer a world without a pandemic than one with it. It has not been easy times for any of us and for some people, it has been completely devastating. However, sometimes when you are going through difficult times, it is good to reflect and see what lessons and positive things that have happened as a result. These are just 10 things in no particular order that I have experienced and I hope that this little article shines some light your way.
- My Hair. When I was younger, I experimented with my hair all of the time. I had so many different hair styles and hair colors. Then, I worked at serious jobs and incorporated more serious hair styles and natural colors. Over the past decade or so, I have pretty much had the same hairstyle and the only difference was with or without bangs. But, while working from home, I have trimmed my own bangs and I have colored my hair pink, bleached my hair and then colored it a pinkish orange. The colors were temporary and have washed out but it felt good to do something different and not feel like I had to conform in any way.
- Redecorating. I am still in the process of redecorating my house but I like that I had the time to really think things through and make some changes. The main project that I just completed was to paint my guest room and move my office to this room. The room was painted a dark greenish gray 10 years ago. Then, I felt it was modern but over the years, I felt the room was dark and depressing. Now, it is painted a white with the lightest tinge of blue. It feels bright and happy and I love working in this room. The next two makeovers will be my bathrooms and I am looking forward to doing that project. I have also moved art work to different rooms and walls to change things up. I feel like my house is having not only a new sense of purpose but a lighter and brighter personality.
- Spending time with my dog. Three years ago, my dog was diagnosed with end stage liver disease and given just a few months to live. I am so fortunate that I had found a holistic vet who did some experimental treatments and that my little fur baby is thriving. However, I am always aware that his time here is not long and with the pandemic, I get to spend more time with him. He sits next to me and sleeps when I work and he follows me around the house and when I am struggling with something, all I have to do is look at his cute face and I melt. Spending time with him is special and I am so fortunate that I now have more time to be with him.
- Experiencing nature in my backyard. I’ve always noticed the birds chirping in the morning and I loved waking up to their music. Now, working from home, I get a couple of more hours of the sounds of the birds and nature. I watch the squirrels running across my fence more than I had in the past and I notice when plants bloom. In Florida during the summer months, rain would cause havoc with leaving work between getting wet and extra traffic. Now, when it rains, I will stand in the opening of the back door and take in the coolness of the dropping temperature and the feeling of renewal. I like listening to the sound of the rain hitting the roof and the back patio and watching the drops slowly cascade off of the plants and trees. It makes my yard a little oasis.
- Talking to family more on the phone. Before Covid-19, I would chat with my son and sister about once every week or two. Now, I talk with both of them a few times a week. I feel like my connection to both of them has grown stronger. Though I have always appreciated family, the virus has made me more aware of how special all of my family members are and how fortunate I am that they are part of my life experience. I am so grateful that during the past few months, when I would be in a temporary darker place, that they brought me light, love and support.
- Experiencing my grandsons in a new way. Don’t get me wrong, I miss those little boys. Wesley is now 6 and Shane is 4 and they are bundles of energy and delight and nothing feels better than hugs from these two boys. However, if I wanted to continue a relationship with them, I needed to change how we do things. Now, we chat on Duo (Android’s answer to Facetime) and we have played Roblox (a multi-person video game platform that is popular with kids) together. I have used technology with them that I rarely used prior and I got to do things that they wanted to do instead of me or their parents dictating the interaction. This is good for our relationship because they enjoyed showing and teaching me new things and it shows them that I am open to change, even at my age.
- In regards to technology, I had watched You Tube videos sporadically over the past decade. Usually when I would watch, it was to look up an old music video from the 80s, a show that I had missed or how to do something in Excel. However, with the pandemic, I have discovered so many content creators that I have thoroughly enjoyed. Since I love to travel, I started searching travel videos and stumbled across Tangerine Travels. Tangerine Travels is a 20-something year old couple who is living and traveling through Mexico and who sometimes make stops in Las Vegas. They are budget friendly travelers but what kept me watching their videos is their personality. They are down to earth, funny, informative and a little bit dorky… meaning that they are real, make mistakes and have no trouble poking fun at themselves. They are also very respectful of the places they travel and like to dispel myths. I am so glad I discovered their highly entertaining and informative videos.
- Another thing that I am grateful for is the time to do some self-reflection. For me, being alone and having quiet gave me an opportunity to look over past relationships and evaluate areas in which I can improve. I’ve been able to work on visualizing the things I do want in my life and take stock of what is truly important to me. I am thankful that I got this time to reflect, ponder and explore who I am, what I stand for and how I want to make an impact.
- And the reason I was able to do some self-reflection is because during Covid-19, I got a chance to slow down. No more driving in traffic hectically to my office, checking messages at every stop light or multi-tasking talking to someone while working on something else. And with this slow down, I’ve been able to add in more time for mediation, prayer and appreciation of everything that I do have. I have reduced much of the stress that I was carrying around on a daily basis, and I came to this realization when I have to leave the home and shop for goods and that fight or flight reaction starts kicking in. This is something that I was living with all the time without even realizing it.
- As a small business owner, I have become even more grateful for my customers and supporters. Owning NatureReflectionsJewelry.com has always brought me joy, but during the past months, it has also brought me a sense of community. I am more engaged with my customers and I am looking at ways to connect in more meaningful ways. And, I am also looking at other small businesses, cheering on their success and making more conscientious efforts to shop from them, both online and locally.
These are just 10 of the many things that I feel have shifted for me during the pandemic. Living and being alone isn’t always easy, but I am grateful. I have my health, I have a roof over my head, I have loving family and friends and a dog that is the cutest thing ever. There has always been that adage, “What will you be the most grateful for when you are on your deathbed?” I feel that with the pandemic, I have been given the opportunity to really reflect and focus on the things that matter most.
I would love to hear what you’ve come to appreciate during the pandemic. Please feel free to comment. And thank you so much for reading and following Nature Reflections.
About the author: Theresa Touhey is a small business owner, an artist, a blogger, a lover of animals and nature and the grandmother of 2 adorable boys and the caregiver of a rescued Havanese dog.