When the pandemic first hit the U.S. in 2020, like so many others, I wondered how I would cope. Would this be a devastating hardship, or could it be an opportunity to look at life in a different way?
There were so many unknowns that business as usual didn’t seem realistic or even possible. I started to think about ways that I could be comfortable and still stay safe with so much fear and confusion going on around me.
As I spoke with family and friends, I could see that everyone had a unique approach to this unprecedented situation. Some were trying to work around the virus to maintain as much of their normal day-to-day lives as possible, and others wanted to ignore that it was even happening.
Very quickly, I realized that how I dealt with this was entirely up to me. So, I went into planning mode. I wanted to find a way to transition to a new normal and maybe even find some joy.
First, I needed to assess what I would require for extended periods of lockdown. As I did my inventory, I realized that I had very little in the way of food on hand and an excessive amount of travel supplies. After so much traveling, I had enough shampoo and toothpaste to last six months.
Since it was still winter in Colorado, I thought of it as getting ready for a big storm. I didn’t want or need to hoard supplies, but I did need to have food in the cupboard.
It reminded me of when I was a girl and mom could make a few pantry staples and one piece of meat stretch for several meals. How well she managed really inspired me. This was a great chance to get creative and do some things differently.
I never enjoyed grocery shopping, or any shopping to be honest, and now it was much worse. I started checking into delivery options and found that I could get everything I needed delivered to my door, it felt like a real luxury. That is something I will continue long after the crisis has passed.
Also, there was an unexpected surprise in having someone else doing my shopping. As supplies fluctuated, I would sometimes get substitute items that I would not have tried otherwise.
I started to appreciate how well I was able to navigate through this strange time. Feeling very secure with my home and food supply, my attention turned inward. I began thinking of how I would spend my time.
Previously, I would have been traveling all over the world for work and pleasure but that was not going to be possible, at least for the time being. That was a big concern for me. How would I adapt if I was confined to one place, not able to jump on a plane whenever I wanted?
I began thinking of all of the wonderful trips I had taken and trying to remember details of each adventure. I had moved so quickly from one place to another, now was a good time to reflect on those journeys and what they really meant to me.
Being in one place for an extended period of time was growing on me. It was nice to wake up in my own bed every day and not have to worry about check-out time or flight schedules.
I was cooking more and even started sourdough baking which is something I used to do when my children were young. I discovered a lot of the simple pleasures that I didn’t have time for before the pandemic.
For me, staying in was a relief. I didn’t have to go anywhere or do anything that I didn’t truly want or need to do. I’ve never liked crowds, so not being able to attend events felt like pure freedom. I could do whatever I wanted, whenever I wanted.
Little by little I started experimenting with this new way of life and found so many hidden gems that I would never have thought would be possible. I have loved slowing down and really taking time to look after myself. What I discovered is that you can find joy even in isolation.
How have you coped during the pandemic? Were there any unexpected benefits from a change in your lifestyle? Share your story and join the conversation.