Life may bring us challenges that break our hearts and test our faith.
But it can also bring us meaningful lessons we may never have learned any other way.
Consider this year’s global pandemic. No matter how greatly you were impacted, it was — and, perhaps, still is — at the very least, a frightening experience requiring a period of adjustment. It’s often through traumatic stress we learn the most valuable truths about ourselves and the world around us.
As we trudge through to on the other side of this year’s horrific virus season, it’s worth examining those lessons more closely. And I’m not talking about how better to stock your food pantry!
Instead, take a look at how we have adapted and grown as a global community. What is your personal takeaway?
What did you have to live without for several long weeks that you will better plan to never be without again?
I’ll bet you are surprised it was the simple things: The parts of your pre-pandemic daily life that you may have taken for granted — that, when you lost them, you felt lost.
Was it Sunday dinners with the grandkids? Visits to your elderly mom? Your exercise classes at the Y, your monthly book club meeting, or the freedom to dine out with your spouse at your favorite restaurant?
More significantly, what didn’t you miss during so many weeks of shut-in social isolation? What have you gone without and realized you don’t need or want in your life, moving forward? People, activities, things you realize now you’re not excited to add back into your routine. Or that you find after the long absence you feel are unnecessary or you feel so much better without?
Is it your rushed morning routine, your long commute, shopping at the mall, going for a mochaccino at Starbucks? Or is it that you don’t miss going into work because you never realized just how much your job, boss, or a coworker makes you miserable.
Pay attention to those answers. Think about how you can adjust your habits moving forward with the rest of the year to reflect these personal truths you’ve discovered — the extra downtime you spent at home forced you to grow more acquainted with yourself and what you truly value. Think about what you can shed, leave behind, or adjust.
Keep these meaningful lessons in mind as you start filling in your planner again, shaping your days, goals, and daily life, moving forward.
Perhaps you’ll feel a burst of relevance when you sing Auld Land Syne, this New Year’s Eve, because those lessons from a challenging year helped you improve the quality of your life.